State of Mind Blog

Updates on Murray’s Writing

The Gilded Age, Version 2019

murray schane state of mind

Between 1870 and 1900 the country was severely divided between the haves and the have-nots. Today the division is veering toward the have-too-much and the have-much-less. The social benefits programs—social security and welfare—and the growing plenitude of minimum wage jobs stave off the extremely abject poverty of that first gilded age.

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What to Do About Death

murray schane state of mind

A year ago my best friend died. As an MD I have, of course, been exposed to death, dying and the dead.

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Vaginal Folds

The Women’s March arrives today with its smarting edge of anti-semitism. No one should be surprised that leaders of a humanitarian cause do not believe in universal humanitarianism. Xenophobia is inherently human, though efforts to resist racism, sexism, and all such derisive and divisive attitudes should prevail. Women are not exempt.

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Penis Power and Prowess

The penis always hangs in a balance, physically, metaphorically and mentally. The penis is every man’s glory and shame as well as both his driving and failing force. The penis is an arrow (in shape as well as function) equipped for some potential target. How has it come to seem more than it is?

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Sex, Lies, and Power

murray schane state of mind“Male and female He created them.”

Sexual dimorphism, the physical differences between the male and female of all animals, have created in humans a vast social and cultural medley. Reproduction in most “lower” animals defines and delimits the relationship between males and females. “Higher” animals go beyond reproduction to acquire attachments sometimes based on caring for offspring and on affection. Humans have outdone them all. We have evolved a more complex, much more diverse story.

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Shop ‘Til We Drop

murray schane state of mind

Where did the universal mania for shopping originate? I suggest that its origins date back to the period in human evolution when we were all hunters and gatherers. Survival depended on scanning the forests and the bush for sightings of the next kill. While gathering required the endlessly scrutinous search for the next nut, the next berry, the next fruit, the next edible root. Continue Reading

Bite Me

Murray Schane state of mind

I was 12 the first time I visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It was my first trip alone with my father, who was in the city on business.

I explored that cavernous building all by myself. I loved the big dinosaur that seemed to sway in the semi-darkness around him. His size was more staggering, more magnificently towering than the Empire State Building.

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Life on the Edge

murray schane state of mindI grew up with the specter of the Great Depression spread over me from my parents’ generation, from their childhood stories. Both my mother and father had essentially been orphans. The hardscrabble life they had to lead: forgoing high school to help support their siblings; changing habitats to avoid rent; living in squalor while working in upscale environments; going without food for days at a time. Not knowing what the future held – not quite knowing if there would be a future.

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How [Not] to Grow Old

murray schane state of mindIt’s not about slowing or reversing the effects of aging—the physical and mental and even psychological alterations that come with passing time. It’s really about retention and augmentation, about memory processing and personal growth.

To the young aging is a distant, medically enhanced, easeful promise coupled with the hope or expectation that aging, like cancer, will be vanquished. We each regard our death, the standard endpoint of aging, as unthinkable. We know it must come, like winter, but many many springs, summers and falls will precede it.

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Why Now? — The Rising Face of Sexual Abuse

murray schane state of mind

The most recent study of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) in 40,000 adults revealed that 10.9% were sexually abused before age 18 (15. 2% females, 6.4% males). 

That CDC study also correlated ACE with negative health outcomes and suggested neurobiological pathways to permanent brain scarring. This means that people like Christine Blasey Ford are susceptible to alterations in brain structure and functioning that will impact their lives forever. These effects can be mediated by psychotherapy and even psychiatric medications. But the trauma residue can never be erased.

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