...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Limitless" & Big Pharm Culture

Limitless will keep your attention. Its ending is more humorous than disastrous, though the movie does have violence on the way there. This is a pharmacological science fiction, and you won't be seeing any prime time ads for its drug of choice.

If taking a pill would turn your life around, help you avoid being thrown out on the street, and you were told that it was soon to be FDA approved, would you give it a try? Maybe not if it was a drug-pushing former brother-in-law who offered it to you. But down and out writer Eddie Morra, played by Bradley Cooper, is desperate enough to give the pill a try.

The miracle drug allows Morra to use 100% of his brain power - including all his memory. Soon he can speak in a variety of languages, masters the martial arts, and completes amazing novels in a matter of days. He becomes bored with all this and decides to apply his new brain power to the field of financial mergers. He outwits the best of Wall Street to the point that people begin to wonder about the origin of his mental prowess.

The symptoms of withdrawal? Prowling the streets, sleep deprivation, no short term memory. He learns that skipping a meal disables him. And there is no possibility of ever stopping the little clear pill entirely and surviving. An off the wall allusion to the "Twilight" saga is there too.

Limitless works because we live in the age of big pharm, which gives us a solution to everything. The movie, however, exposes our culture's strange relationship to drugs. What really makes one drug legal and the other illegal? Addictions don't know the difference between the two.

Politicians, sometimes playing the law and order card, call a "war" on certain drugs while others are marketed by big money ad nauseum. The commercials are there to convince us of our need to self-medicate. Like the magic phrase "ask your doctor" in the infernal drug ads, Limitless seems to offer no real answers, except maybe that anything can be very dangerous if it ends up in us.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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