My brother, the slacker

Joey Garcia

What do you think of psychic training programs? My 26-year-old brother wants our mom to pay his tuition for such a thing. Over the years she has supported his forays into music, visual art, racing and other expensive hobbies that quickly lost his favor. He is a college dropout who has drifted through a series of dead-end jobs. Our late father once arranged a wonderful job for him at a local firm, but he quit because he found the corporate structure too confining. Mom thinks of him as a creative type, so she wasn’t surprised. I think that excuses his behavior. Lately, my brother has become very interested in spirituality and my mom thinks this is worth supporting. I should state that money is not an issue, but I’m tired of seeing her suckered into another of his fleeting interests because it seems wasteful. Your thoughts?

Your brother would be better off studying with a pack of dogs. After all, most of what passes as psychic or intuition training is simply learning how to read subtle human cues the way dogs do. As veterinarian Sophia Yin points out, “Humans give subtle visual signals all the time and we do many things we are not conscious of. Dogs are excruciatingly conscious of these things, though. Dogs are champion translators of human body language—so good that they trick gullible humans into believing that they can read our minds.”

Of course, if dogs can read our minds, their skill rests on a commitment to self-directed study and instinct. Your brother can access both within himself without enduring a tuition fee. And, as you have probably figured out by now, psychic training programs have nothing to do with spirituality. Nor is psychic ability akin to intuition. Intuition is an experience of reality without projection. The process of translating body language is fraught with projection. Thus, psychics fall under the category of parapsychology.

The deeper issue here is that your love for your brother and mother is being strained through a screen of righteousness. You want your brother to drop his defiantly dilettante ways. It’s possible, though, that all of his explorations will coalesce someday into an inspired career of his own making. If that’s too much for you to bear, ask yourself whether you sucker yourself into dead-end thoughts about your brother, thereby wasting energy that could be spent on your own life.

I’ve noticed a few letters in your column lately from teenagers. I would like to say something to them: Stop driving through our city’s neighborhoods blasting your music so loud that house windows reverberate. Stop forcing people to listen to the obscene drivel that passes for music these days. I feel like I’m being mugged by music.

Whew! OK, it’s true that some teenagers treat their vehicles like a boom box on wheels. If their parents and the police don’t take action when the sound barrier is violated, there’s only one thing to do. Dance. Yeah, put your hands in the air and shake your bottom to the beat. There’s nothing worse for teens than the sight of old folks (anyone over 25) enjoying their music.

Plus, many people these days are fond of tribal-style drumming. As obnoxious as these drive-by concerts can be, they’re really just the sonic version of skins … rich as they are in reverberating bass. So praise God that the noise is temporary and enjoy it while it lasts.

Meditation of the week
“My mama always told me, 'You’re no better than anybody else, but there’s nobody better than you,’ ” says 85-year-old Edith Washington. Who would you be if, in childhood, you were told what you needed to hear?

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