Friday, February 10, 2012

East Meets West

Here's the thing:  I have Parkinson's Disease.

Had it for about 20 years. I've been able to slow its progress considerably by a combination of medicine and electrodes placed deep in my sub-thalamus. But I'm running out of options that western medicine can provide, and so I'm considering alternatives.

I've read numerous articles on the therapeutic effects of Tai Chi, Qi Gong and the like. Although I'm a writer of fantastic fiction (used to be mostly TV; now it's mostly movies and books), I'm a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, pragmatist and atheist. These might seem contradictory positions, but they're really not. (Think of it as cognitive dissidence.) I make a decent living writing about little green men, vampires, ghosts, etc. But it's all make believe. I don't believe any of it. I'm just grateful for whatever genetic quirk gave me the ability to make up stories and get paid to do it.

But the wonderful thing about science is that, unlike dogmatism, it thrives on being proven wrong. We learn from doing, screwing up, doing a face-palm and trying again -- until we get it right. I have no vested interest in believing in God, but on the other hand, I have nothing against being proven wrong. If Jesus Christ staged his big comeback tonight, I'd probably think -- well, probably at first I'd think he was, as John Lennon said, someone dressed up like Jesus, but after he'd, say, produced a few thousand loaves and fishes out of a bag of Long John Silver's, I might be inclined to admit that he was working some decent mojo. And if he finished up the evening's entertainment by lobbing a few lightning bolts up the collective asses of Messrs Romney, Gingrich and Santorum, I might have to admit that I may have misjudged Son'o'God. 

I'm not planning on losing any sanity points over it, however. In terms of cosmic horror Jesus can't hold a votive candle to Cthulhu, and in terms of sheer cosmic silliness it's hard to imagine any religion that rises in risability higher than Scientology, though evangelical Christianity comes about as close as any belief can. Where else but in churches deep within the Mason-Dixon singularity can one find nominal adults willing to fight for their belief that The Flintstones is a documentary?

So, as I've said, I intend to give the East a shot. There's a Tai Chi class within five minutes of my place (of course there is; this is California.) I'll let you know how it all works out. 

1 comment:

Livraria Notre Dame said...

Dear Mr. Reaves, I fell very sorry for the parkinson thing. For a writer I think is one of the worst things that could happen. But don't give up. My wife had some severe depression problems and guess what, the only doctor that could help her was a ortomolecular dr. I didn't belive too much in ortomolecular but as I had tried all kind of treatments and nothing worked I gave him this credit and she's almost cured. It worked. And believe me it was a very severe condition and it was all hormones and brain bad functions. After the dr found what was going wrong, it was a matter of weeks to see her coming back to normal life. Unfortunately I live in Brazil but I can give his contacts to you to see if he can help pr suggest another doc in US that follows this line. Another thing is that I'm writing to you because of this article , it's is portuguese but you can translate with google. basicly its saya that a guy here in Brazil have already sold 4000 copies of a final of D&D that he wrote and he is selling copies with a stand in Bienal do livro in São Paulo , which is the greatest book fair in the country. It's not fair...