Bureaucracy: The Olympic Torch Bearer


Last year I attended a gathering where a gentleman, let’s call him Chuck, delivered a speech to us about an accomplishment he had made.

In 1988 Canada hosted the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.  As part of the celebration Canada’s state owned oil company Petro-Canada decided to sponsor the Olympic Torch Relay across the country.  How would the relay team be assembled?  By lottery.  All you had to do to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay was go to your nearest Petro-Canada Gas Station and fill out an entry form.  Relay participants would be drawn from among the entrants.  You could enter as many times as you wished.

Chuck lived in a small rural community, but it turns out our he was ambitious.  He was determined as a grade school student that he would participate in the Olympic Torch Relay.  He went down to the Petro-Canada Gas Station and picked up as many entry forms as the gas station attendant would allow, went home and began filling out entry forms by hand, one at a time.  Then he would go back to the Petro-Canada Gas Station and stuff all his completed entry forms into the entry box.

Chuck was determined.  Every day he would go to the Petro-Canada Gas Station and collect a ream of entry forms.  Everyday he would spend all his spare time filling out the entry forms one at a time by hand.  When other kids his age were spending their time with their families and friends, enjoying leisure time or participating in extra-curricular activities or sports, our speaker was filling out forms.

The entry form completion and submission routine went on for months.  Chuck’s family thought he was crazy, his friends thought he was crazy, his teachers thought he was crazy, the attendants at the Petro-Canada Gas Station thought he was crazy.  Then the day of the draw for the Petro-Canada Olympic Torch Relay participants finally arrived.  The draw was made and about a week later a letter arrived at Chuck’s home.  He had been drawn to carry the Olympic Torch as a relay participant.  Everyone was overjoyed.

The Olympic Torch Relay began during a Canadian Winter and it finally arrived at the point where Chuck would take the Olympic Torch from the previous Torch Relay participant, bear the Olympic Torch for a kilometer or two and pass it to the next Torch Relay member.  Chuck was dressed in the red and white Olympic Torch Relay uniform with the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics logo,  the Canadian Flag logo, the Olympic Torch Relay logo and the Olympic Torch Relay logo emblazoned on it.  However, it was bitterly cold, the relay schedule was very tight and physically Chuck was not only unfit, but considerably overweight.  However, no matter, Chuck received the Olympic Torch and jumped on the back of a snowmobile driven by a Torch Relay volunteer.  They crossed the snowy Canadian winter wilderness with God speed with Chuck holding the Olympic Torch high.  Finally, they arrived at the next relay point and Chuck jumped off the back of the snowmobile and passed the Olympic Torch to the next Torch Relay participant, who in turn jumped on the back of the snowmobile and continued onward.  Victory had indeed been sweet.

Now, let’s return to 2007 on the day this speech was being delivered.  Chuck completed his story and proudly displayed the Olympic Torch Relay uniform he had worn during his leg of the relay.  We all looked admiringly at it and thought about our own desire to carry the Olympic Torch that we had not attempted to realize.  And looked at a man who had had the courage to realize a dream.

Chuck stood before us proud, reserved and two hundred pounds overweight.  He now worked for one of Canada’s provincial governments as a senior bureaucrat.  He was a senior elected member of the organization of which his audience belonged.  He was also a member of the subdivision of the organization to which the audience belonged.  He does not believe in new members or in fact any members of the organization receiving a copy of the organization’s constitution, but knows it intimately.  He studies Robert’s Rules of Order intensely during organization meetings, but does not share this knowledge with the members, instead waiting to be called upon in an advisory role as Parliamentarian deciding for everyone what due process is.  Instead of rationally debating motions, he bellows out bombast like profanity.  When asked about ethics, he says his is winning.

So, what did Chuck learn from the example of Olympic Torch Relay?  First, he learned that sport and sportsmanship had nothing to do with the Olympic Torch Relay.  Second, he learned that the Olympic Torch Relay was a lottery, not based on merit.  Third, he learned that he could manipulate the outcome of the Olympic Torch Relay selection process by stuffing the ballot box.  Fourth, he learned to be a good bureaucrat legalistically filling out the same Olympic Torch Rleay entry forms day in and day out, neglecting family, friends, liesure, extra-curricular activities, sport and physical health.  Fifth, he learned that the Olympic Torch Relay had no physical fitness requirements at all.  He simply sat on the back of a gas poewered, internal combustion engine, polluting snowmobile so the organizers of the event could meet their schedule.  It’s a wonder that Chuck had the strength to hold the torch up for the length of his leg of the relay.

Chuck had learned a lot of lessons from the Olympic Torch Relay.  I believe that the Olympic Committee, Canada, the Petro-Canada Corporation and the Canadian Olympians should all be proud of what they accomplished.  They have produced an immoral, misleading, scheming, complex, inefficient, ineffective, inadequate, over-indulgent, imprecise and inaccurate bureaucrat who could die of any number of self-inflicted chronic health problems the next moment.  Although I’m sure he has a redeeming trait or two. They all deserve a medal.

Live the Dream.

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Mental Order for a change


If you read the indepth biographies of Winston Churchill, you will discover that the man suffered from a mental illness called Bipolar Disorder.  Yet despit a life of political defeats, he was able to win the Prime Ministership and successfully lead Britain in its time of greatest need against the Nazi war machine with the words, “Never, Never, Never Give Up.”  Churchill’s strategic insight during the Battle of Britain and his compelling speeches are still studied by leaders around the world today.


Abraham Lincoln’s indepth biographies also reveal he suffered from a mental illness believed to be Bipolar Disorder.  Yet despite repeated failures won the Presidency and even after the death of his wife, led the United States through the greatest national crisis it ever faced, The American Civil War.  His memorial in Washington D.C. reveal a man of profound depth of thought and compassion for his countrymen.  He is regarded as one of the greatest Presidents the United States has produced.

Differing orders of the brain are often hard to distinguish.  Especially when studying accounts of historical figures.  Often different brain order societies claim that the same historical figures had their particular brain order.  An interesting truth is we all exhibit traits of every brain order.  We just exhibit them to varying degrees.

My theory is that all mental orders are just that different orders.  Some orders are more detrimental to one’s functioning than others.

I suggest we are all wired in a similar fashion, but we don’t understand the wiring yet or the inputs and outputs.  We don’t understand the range of Mental Orders humanity has.  Some orders are just more common than others.  Maybe in the end Synesthesia will be found to simply be a different mental order.  Time will tell.

Maybe, and more to the point I am saying we are confusing mental difference with illness.  Bipolar Order, Schizo Order, Borderline Order, Autistic Order and so on .

What I am really wondering is what Bipolar Disorder,  Schizophrenia and Autism are.

What is Bipolar Order?


Bipolar Order is understood to be a chemical imbalance in the brain.  However, every cell in the brain is composed of chemicals and scientists do not fully understand brain chemistry and do not fully understand why the range of medications for Bipolar Order are able to conteract the symptoms.   Bipolar Order is a change in the affective aspect of the self.

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More information about Bipolar Disorder can be found here.

Who has Bipolar Order?

The list of prominent persons with Bipolar Mood Disorder is very long as the video below will show (10 mins).  However, present day medicines are making it possible to manage the illness and lead a more stable life.

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What is Schizophrenia?


Schizophrenia is not a split personality.  Schizophrenia is not a disorder of mood.

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A more extensive explanation of Schizophrenia can be found here.

Who has Schizophrenia?


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What is Autism?


Autism is not a lack of interaction with the world.  It is a different way of perceiving and interacting with the world.  Understanding autism is not a failure of the autistic, it is a failure of society to provide them with the tools to interact with us and apply their potential.

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Who has Autism?


1 in 150 Children in U.S. Has Autism, New Survey Finds

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Psychism : Mental Discrimination

However, that is not what this post is about.  This post is about the stigma ignorance, prejudice and discrimination against the mentally different as well as the abuse of healthy people who choose to challenge authority or deviate from convention.  I couldn’t find a term like sexism, racism or homophobia, so I decided to coin a new term, “psychism”.  This is not the usage of psychism in its conventional sense, however I think the usage I propose is much more important to society.  Other schools of thought use “mentalism” or “sanism”, but I think psychism has more punch.  Psychism is mental discrimination and Psychophobia is fear of mental difference.


“You’re Crazy!”

When a person presents an idea the hearer has many options.

  1. You can attack the motive.
  2. You can attack the person.
  3. You can attack the timing.
  4. You can attack the location.
  5. You can attack the function.
  6. You can attack the data.
  7. You can attack the need.
  8. You can attack the provision.

Or you can attack all of them by questioning a person’s sanity.  This is Psychism.

To label a person as mentally ill when they challenge authority, act in a deviant manner or simply attempt to be creative is a psychist act.  It is an attempt to destroy a person’s credibility and self-esteem.  It is a violation of trust and a violation of human rights.  It does not matter whether that person is mentally ill or not.  Psychism is a crime.  It is a crime in religion, politics, the workplace, academically, in family and against oneself.  The only time when it is acceptable to intervene in a person’s actions is when they are a physical danger to themselves or others.  And in the case of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia this is rarely the case contrary to public and media sensationalism.

It is often forgotten that the mentally different were among the first victims of eugenics, Nazism and fascism.  Is there going to be a place for them in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights?

Mental Difference and the World

It is predicted that Mental Health will be the dominant concern world wide this century.  It will affect us or someone close to us if not now in the near future.

Here’s some interesting statistics regarding a country struggling to get its Mental Healthcare System into place in the face of modern societal stresses:

  • I have been reading statistics on China.
  • There are only 17,000 psychiatrists for 1.3 billion people.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Chinese between 15 and 34.
  • Chinese culture does not know how to deal with mental health issues due to stigma.
  • China has developed its own diagnostic manual that deviates from international standards to address “pragmatic” requirements, but also challenges the tendency in the west to pathologize everything.
  • China refuses entry to anyone with a mental disease, I think more due to incapacity of the health care system than anything else.

Australia will not grant immigration to anyone with a mental illness on the basis that they will burden the healthcare system.

Singapore built a new Mental Healthcare Hospital in the early 1990s to prepare to deal with this emerging issue.  However job security is still an issue if you fall ill.

I am still researching.

I hope that this century will be the century when psychism will become extinct in society.  When we learn compassion and help Synesthetes manage their health and recognize deviation by any person as a creative force.  Let’s forget Mentally Ill.  Let’s use the term Mentally Different.


Everyone has worth.

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