which doll makes you feel better?


I visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis yesterday.

It’s sited on the spot Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in April 1968 – the Lorraine Motel. Moving scenes.

Following the struggle of the Afican American through three centuries of slavery, abuse and segregation is a sobering insight into the darker side of human beings.

Maybe it reflects my own experience and knowing, but I found it more troubling to read of the twentieth century travesties than the seventeenth, where the importing of slave labour from Africa – somehow seems unreal; from a time gone by. The abuse in the street and the segregation however, in education, on buses, in everyday life… shaming stuff.

I learned much. Two things struck me in particular. I will cover the second tomorrow.

The first however was that in the 1950s a long legal battle came to a head, relating to segregation in schools. The legal team had contacted a group of psychologists who had researched the psychology of segregation. Their test was simple – it was called the doll test. They simply gave children, aged 3-7, four identical dolls. Identical, except for their colour. They asked them a number of simple questions to establish which doll they preferred. Overwhelmingly the children, whether white or black themselves , preferred the white doll.

The evidence was used to show how self esteem, a sense of inferiority and self confidence were affected by society, environment and prejudice.

The Supreme Court cited the work implicitly in the following passage: “To separate African-American children from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”

Really? No s***?

Something we should hold on to perhaps? The notion that some form of judgement made arbitrarily might impact the self esteem of those judged and give them a sense of inferiority.

origami emotions

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I read recently about an ‘origami robot’ that unfolds itself to perform remote controlled surgery in the stomach. It has just undergone laboratory tests.

The small rectangular robot is ingested in a dissolving capsule and then steered, using magnetic fields, to patch a stomach wall wound or to collect a foreign body, such as a swallowed button battery. Using magnets rather than a tether to direct it, provides greater flexibility and control.

Wow. Science is amazing.

But, how come we can do this, yet…
we can’t cure loneliness?
we can’t stop people worrying?
we can’t stop human beings commiting self abusive behaviour?
we can’t give people their self esteem back?

How many more people worry, or are lonely, or have low self esteem in comparison to those with stomach wall tears or those who swallow batteries?

Come on science, let’s pay attention to the emotional and psychological too. We need you to do great things for us.

human detox anyone?

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Sitting in Vera’s Kitchen for a cuppa. A fine cafe in Letchworth.

The menu begins with ‘detoxing soup’.

Is that possible? Can soup have a detox effect? What toxin exactly is being removed from your body by consumption of said broth?

Detox, detoxifying, detoxing are ‘a la mode’ at the moment it seems.

But when do we detox our humanity? Remove the toxic parts of our being; the flotsam picked up along our life journey?

The unwanted thoughts. The unhelpful behaviours. The disabling feelings. When do we recover from the self toxifying life journey that has left us with redundant beliefs, self doubt, insecurity, poor self image, vulnerability, limiting thoughts, low self esteem?

That’s the soup we really need.