Sunday, June 12, 2011

All in the mind

Reading Marcia Angell's piece in the latest NYRB on the treatment of mental illness (an interesting read btw), I found myself wondering if it really makes sense to speak of placebo effects in the context of mental disease. If you believe you're less depressed, aren't you, in fact, less depressed? And if a course of treatment can make you believe you're less depressed, then doesn't that make it a valid cure for your condition, even if it has no chemical or physiological benefits whatsoever?

In other words, what if the most effective treatment for depression were to create the illusion of treatment: administering what are basically sugar pills, but convincing the patient, through a combination of advertising and pseudo-scientific research that he / she is getting better? A treatment that would work just so long as the illusion lasted?

Sunday, June 05, 2011


All winter the snow made the roads impassable
I wrote page after page thinking of you.

Now the water flows free down the mountain
And I must decide if these words are worth sending.

- Hu Ming-Xiang

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Sound of the Mountain

You say you don't understand
Why I listen to the mountains.

If I could find a true stranger
I could explain myself.

- Hu Ming-Xiang

The Cat and The Butterflies

I sit in the yard and watch
My cat chasing butterflies.

I admire his technique.
I hope they get away.

- Hu Ming-Xiang

The Open Road

No more shall I be tempted
By the welcoming road.

He who has no door
Cannot leave it open.

- Hu Ming-Xiang