English versions

środa, 01 kwietnia 2009

The latin sentence used as title is pro ana motto all over the world. It means "what nourishes me destroys me". I was always wondering where it came from, what was the context of using it for the first time, and "what the poet had in mind".

The autorship of the sentence Quod me nutrit me destruit is credited to Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, poet and translator, who lived and worked late XVI century (he died being less than 30 years old, under suspicious circumstances - dueling or being assasinated). There is a theory stating that Marlowe faked his death and was publishing his works under new name - Shakespeare. The quote Quod me nutrit me destruit can be found on the most famous of Marlowe's portraits at the Cambridge University:

 christopher marlowe

And here is doubt - there is no word from our sentence in any of Marlowe's survived works. Actually it is conected with Marlowe only by his portrait. It cannot be found in any of classic Roman texts as well. Where did it come from then?

In the play named "Pericles, Prince of Tyre", which was written by Shakespeare (two first acts were possibly written by one of Shakespeare's students or co-workers), similar sentence appears: Quod me alit, me extinguit - which means the same as a pro ana motto. This sentence can be found in many further emblem books (emblem was a form of art, it contained motto, picture ilustrating it, and poetic or epic explanation of its meaning). Picture accompanying Quod me alit, me extinguit usually contained burning torch placed upside down.

Samuel Daniel's emblem book (the very first and most famous of emblem books) gives the meaning of Quod me alit, me extinguit as explanation of the nature of love - which motivates, let us do impossible things, but can also be destructive... Other emblem books extends the meaning including power, politics, metaphysics...

All things we do with passion, and with no limits, can destroy us. Including taking care of our figures.

Cupid holding reversed torch (illustration from emblem book by Otto Vaenius Amorum emblemata, from year 1608)

Polish version of this note.

piątek, 20 lutego 2009

Jasiek Mela was ordinary boy. In 2002 he was 14 years old and had serious accident - he was electrocuted by the 16 kV voltage current. Jasiek lost left shank, and right forearm. I'm not even trying to imagine how hard it was for him. Plans, dreams, whole life turned upside down with no chance to return back.

Altho Jasiek have met some amazing people, they helped him to believe in dreams again. Thanks to them 2 years after the accident Jasiek Mela accompanied by Marek Kamiński reached both poles. As the youngest explorer in history, and the first disabled ever. More about Jasiek's pole expeditions - Marek Kamiński fundation site.

In 2008 Jasiek with the group of other disabled people reached the highest peak of Africa - Mount Kilimanjaro. The expedition was organized by Anna Dymnafundation Against the Odds - details.

All those achievements gave Jasiek one more dream, perhaps the biggest of them all:

I was given a second chance by life. I met many extraordinary people, such as Marek Kamiński or Ania Dymna, who helped me to improve my life, they gave me hope. My dream is to carry on this hope, to give it to those who were not as lucky as I was. I am what I am thanks to other people. Thanks to being surrounded by extraordinary people, I try not to give up and to appreciate life. (the citation comes from the site http://www.pozahoryzonty.org)

December 2008 Jasiek Mela Fundation "Poza Horyzonty" was registered. ("Poza Horyzonty" means "Outside the horizon").

Jasiek's character is example - that there is no impossible things, that who we are at the moment, in no way can limit who we are able to become. And the most important thing - there are people in the world willing to help your dreams to come true. Instead of reading calories tables or viewing models pictures for hundredth time, check out stories of Jasiek's expeditions. I guarantee it's worth it.

Jasiek Mela, Marek Kamiński i Wojtek Ostrowski na biegunie południowym
picture comes from Marek Kamiński Fundation site
Polish version of these note you can find here.
wtorek, 10 lutego 2009

I noticed many visitors come to my blog from English sites. I decided to translate some of my previous notes especially for them. I appologize for my poor English, I tried my best to make it understandable and with no errors.


sequor (łac.) - to follow; secare (łac.) - to separate

The term „sect” is usually used to describe religion-based communities. Some people use it when talking about group of people following radical rules, which are against accepted regulations and standards. There is no strict definition of this term, however we can define some characteristic attributes of the sect:

  • isolation – division of the people for „us” - members of the sect, and „them” - all the others,

  • rules and rituals, breaking existing social norms,

  • destructive influence on family members remaining outside the sect,

  • hierarchy among members, very strong position of the leader,

  • controlling all possible aspects of members lives;

  • psycho manipulation is intentionally used to recruit new members, usually to make them act against their own good.

Is pro ana a sect? Pro ana has no hierarchy of members, there is no leader with strong position. Sure all Internet communities has their privileged group of members such as admins or moderators. You can also observe some of community members play the roles of authorities. However these kind of hierarchy is not global, and its character is completely different from sect hierarchy. So from this point of view pro ana is not a sect.

Let's take a closer look at all the other characteristics I mentioned above:

  • isolation – creating closed communities, accepting only selected people as initiates, feeling alienation, or stating that only other pro ana members are able to understand problems and dilemmas involved with pro ana style, sometimes sens of superiority additionally appears – describing non-members as jealous, or too weak to pursue perfection;

  • rules and rituals – typical elements of pro ana sites are “Thin Commandments” and “Reasons to be Thin”, many of the rules presented there are against social and cultural norms, like “Being thin is more important than being healthy.”, food as evil, or being thin as the only one determinant of success; there is also a list of things to do when you are hungry, how to pretend you eat, physical exercises, and motivations such as fitting too small/too big clothes, checking weight and measuring wrists, thighs, waist every day; all that activities are in fact rituals;

  • destructing family – parents forcing their daughters to eat are viewed as enemies, not people caring for their children, pro ana as life style should be kept in secret, and the consequences are lies,

  • control – pro ana controls only one aspect of life – eating, but eating is so important for pro anas, that all other aspects of life are controlled through dieting,

  • psycho manipulation – pro anas declare they don't want to recruit new members, from the other hand all their slogans like: perfection, control, strength, beauty sounds like advertisement for weak, unhappy, shy and unsure people looking for meaning of their lives. In pro ana they find a way to live, very destructive way of searching purpose of life. In my opinion such slogans are psycho manipulation, however I find it hard to believe that this effect was achieved on purpose. I suspect that pro anas try to convince themselves about pro ana being the best and the only way to achieve success.

As I mentioned above – the term sect is used to describe religious based movements. Let's take a look at pro ana from this side:

  • personification of the desease – anorexia or Ana – friend, spiritual guide, companion, pro anas write a letter for her, they sound a lot like a prayers, if they haven't experienced Ana's presence yet, that's their ultimate goal and dream;

  • thinspirations – pro ana sites are full of pictures of thin beauties – models, actresses, but also real girls, these pictures are suppose to inspire an encourage further starving, they remind slavish alters glorying anorectic ideal of beauty;

  • rules presented as Decalogue – all religions are based on dogmas, unchallengeable rules, pro anas trust their scales without any doubts, and basic rules present as Decalogue, twisting the bible sense and calling them Thin Commandments. There is more Bible motives used by pro anas, like Ana Psalm, based on Bible Psalm 23 describing God as protector and provider.

  • good and evil ideology – food as pure evil, starving as a way of purification,

  • symbols of the membership – famous red bracelets, used by anorexics as recognition sign, pro anas encourage to wear them, so they could recognize each other in the crowd.

I suspect there is more such similarities.

Is pro ana a sect? Officially – no, since pro ana activity is restricted to the Internet only. However many aspects of pro ana activities is very similar to the way sects act. And this is very disturbing. Knowing the power of sects in recruiting lost people looking for the purpose of their lives and something to believe in, think how dangerous pro ana can be.

 Original (Polish) version you can find here.

Terapia anoreksji, bulimii