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Hurt knee and larger issues - Input Junkie
September 5th, 2010
10:15 am


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Hurt knee and larger issues
Friday night, I took a fall off my bicycle. I pulled something in my left knee. At this point, my knee is fairly usable except for being swollen, and it's noticeably better than yesterday. I've been elevating it, taking ibuprofen [1], compressing it some of the time and chilling it at other times. I'm told that I should be throwing some heat at it in a day or so. And I've been using some Taoist massage from The Way of Healing, which has helped.

The major practical lesson I'm taking from this is that if I'm in a "I just want to get home" mood, I should pause, breath, and focus more on my surroundings. For me, "I just want to get home" means just thinking about that more than anything else.

The cats are dealing adequately with being fed in the kitchen rather than the basement-- the stairs to the basement don't have a railing for the top half.

Fortunately, there's nothing urgent that I can't do, the heat has broken, and I had most of a sandwich from the Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen, the best deal in Philadelphia. Their big sandwiches cost about $20, and are enough for three or four meals.

However, I've also been reading Torture and Democracy, and soon after I fell, I was also grateful that I wasn't surrounded by people who were dedicated to making my life worse. I got help-- a passerby helped me up, and got me neosporin for scrapes, bandaids, ibuprofen, and a glass of water. I was free to move, eat, drink, and sleep.

If the book is right, the only reason the world has mostly moved to less destructive forms of torture is monitoring, and this seems plausible to me. Getting rid of the less destructive forms is going to be a long haul, but Amnesty International is a major organization working on it. I've given them some money, and if doing so will fit into your life, I hope you will, too.

[1] In my heart of hearts, I'm not sure it's better than aspirin. Can something without the bitter taste really work? Seriously, I know ibuprofen is easier on the stomach, but is it as good at reducing swelling?

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
Ibuprofen is an effective anti-inflammatory. The only thing that might work better is one of the Rx NSAIDS.

Edited at 2010-09-05 02:19 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
It depends largely on your metabolism. On me, Ibuprofen is like taking chalk, with about the same level of effectiveness. Then again, I've been medicating with opiates for true relief. Feel better.
[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
That point about monitoring strikes me as related to the basis for the Constitutional prohibition on secret trials before secret judges. The people who came up with that had vivid memories of the Star Chamber, not to mention the Inquisition.
[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
I hope you're feeling better soon.

Reading about torture while hurting isn't a combination that would work for me.
[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I definitely wasn't going to read more yesterday-- I'm feeling enough better today that I might take a crack at it.

Not reading more doesn't mean the material is off my mind.
Date:September 5th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)

using hiking poles

[User Picture]
Date:September 5th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with the book that monitoring is what works. I don't think we can create a world in which people never end up feeling like they have no choice but to resort to (fill in the blank). What we can possibly create, though, is a world in which they know for a fact that they can't get away with it. Although we can't even do that much if we don't really want to.

To me, one of the biggest disappointments of the War on Terror has been that we've had to rediscover scientific knowledge that was previously researched, and published in places where people should have been able to find it when they needed it. Knowledge that some people did find, that they were able to point out to the people who needed to know it, that even got published in feature articles in places where the right people would read them, and did. And it did no good.

Two separate research studies done more or less simultaneously in the 1940s, comparing the results of interrogations with the methods used, concluded that torture doesn't work; if victims of torture do reveal their secrets but those aren't the secrets you wanted to hear, you won't believe them, so the torture continues until they tell you what you want to hear, and then you waste time and resources pursuing that chimera, that false lead. Both studies, one by the DoJ and one by the DoD, concluded that what works every single time is building minimal rapport with the subject and then letting them talk about whatever they want to talk about; once someone starts talking, eventually they tell you everything they know. It usually doesn't even take that long.

Fifty or sixty years later, confronted with a feared "ticking time bomb" scenario, our officials were told by at least some of their subordinates that torture had been proven not to work, and those subordinates were not believed. That is the disappointment to me: not that they felt that the public would hold them responsible if they didn't get the information they needed even if it meant using torture to get it, not that they thought they could get away with it, but that contempt for science and elevation of "gut instinct" prejudices have gone so far that they couldn't be deterred by a previous generation's air-tight scientific proofs.

For thirty years now, we've been ruled by people who are immune to proof of any kind. If they want something to be true, then for them, it is true, and anyone who tries to prove to them that the world isn't the way they want it to be, that it doesn't work the way they want it to work, is an evil-doer.
[User Picture]
Date:September 6th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
I really think that trait on the part of rulers has been with us as long as there have been rulers. "Killing the messenger" is surely an expression much older than thirty years.
[User Picture]
Date:September 6th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
Re the ibuprofen, I've found it's actually WORSE on my stomach than aspirin (though that may have been an isolated incident).
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