WTO women
©RG Sherman / WTO Seattle

While researching global citizen issues for my media web class, the word ‘globalopathy’ occurred to me and I googled it to see if it was a legitimate word.  Indeed, it is.

“Brain “globalopathies” cause mental disorders.” Title of a paper published by Avi Peled, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel (  “This work proposes that the underlying etiopathology of mental disorders originates from disturbances to global brain dynamics, or “Globalopathies”.  The paper goes on to say, “For example a “small world network” has been described for optimal brain functions and breakdown of that organization might underlie relevant psychiatric manifestations.”

Disney was right, it is a small world after all.  And small worlds are better, inside our head.  Dr. Peled continues, “Once validated Globalopathies can provide for “Global-therapies” i.e., interventions that can reorganize the brain and cure psychiatric disorders. The technology for such interventions is becoming available.”

Would the two young women in the image above be considered in need of a brain ‘intervention’ in some societies?  In this society some see it that way, with the idea that psychological training can change sexual orientation.

I took this photograph during the infamous ‘Battle in Seattle’, 1998, when WTO came to town, welcomed by the Clinton administration.  It became a Small World when this event brought divergent groups together, from save the turtle folks to anarchists to teamsters to farmers.  All protesting how world trade agreements are negatively impacting them or their causes.

Dr. Peled’s research is about how the brain affects mental and physical health.  But first must come the decision that there is something wrong with you.  Either you or someone else can make that decision.    I interned at a psychiatric hospital (read ‘insane asylum’) while in college studying psychology.  In the mornings I worked in a ward, afternoons in the administrators office.  Sitting at my desk on the ward the first day I looked up to see a man standing in the doorway.  He had long, scraggly hair, too short red-striped bell bottoms and a semi toothless grin.  Thinking he was a patient I waited for him to state his intention.  “Hello,” he said, “I’m Dr. So and So.”  He was the head psychiatrist. At this hospital  you either voluntarily committed yourself, or some one committed you, not so voluntarily. On my tour of the complex I saw the facility where electro-shock treatments were applied.  A method of re-organizing your brain function according to what society said should be ‘normal’.  I’m not sure what technologies Dr. Peled awaits to become ‘available’.

Disney’s Small World is one where we recognize that underneath it all we’re more similar than different.  This realization should bring us together, rather than opinions based on our differences splitting us apart.  So, really, we are citizens first of our own minds.  Culture creates the parameters within which we organize our manner of thinking, creating blueprints for right and wrong and how we frame the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.  If we can’t get it right within our own minds, how can we possibly relate to the external world in a healthy manner?



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