Saybrook Links

Read an excerpt from Unstuck! - Dr. James Gordon's guide to dealing with depression

04/10/2012

Dr. James Gordon, Dean of Saybrook University's Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, has an excerpt from his book Unstuck:  Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression featured at the Wellness Times. 

Unstuck! deals with ways to understand depression, and how to address it, that go beyond taking pills.   

“Drugs just address the symptoms, and they should be seen as a last resort rather than a first choice," Dr. Gordon says.  "When we experience the signs and symptoms of depression, it’s not the end point of a disease process, it’s a wake-up call that change is necessary, and we need to move on a healing journey.  We have to take a step back and look at the reasons why we’re depressed, we have to look at how we’ve gotten out of balance, and what the causes are." 

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Rollo May's last book, "The Psychology of Existence," to be re-issued

01/16/2012

McGraw-Hill has announced that it is re-issuing The Psychology of Existence, the last book that pioneering existential psychologist Rollo May wrote in 2004.

May was one of the founders of Saybrook University, and wrote The Psychology of Existence with Kirk Schneider, a Saybrook graduate who is now also a member of Saybrook's faculty.

The New Existentialists has an interview with Schneider about the continued relevance of The Psychology of Existence, along with a discussion about what it was like to work with May in the last days of his life, getting him a copy of the gally proofs to review just two days before his death.

Read the interview here.

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Why do we think women aren't funny?

10/20/2011

We can prove that women are as funny as men -- we just don't believe it.

A new study showed that when a group of people were given jokes ... but didn't know who wrote them ... they found a statistically insignificant difference between jokes written by men and women.  '

But tell them who wrote the joke?  Suddenly the jokes by men are the ones that give them belly laughs.

This is a new study, but it's an old problem.  Last March Saybrook faculty member Steven Pritzker, a former Hollywood comedy writer, talked about how he'd only realized the contributions of women are ignored in the arts when he started editing The Encyclopedia of Creativity. 

He nailed the problem that researchers at the UC San Diego just identified.  The bad news -- it's been going on for centuries.  The good news?  It's getting better.

Read the interview here

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The culture of Kodak: It's hard not to fall when you're on top of the world

10/04/2011

Early film Kodak is an iconic company – almost synonymous with film and photography. 

It may soon become synonymous with major collapse as well:   the epitome of a once invincible company that couldn’t keep up. 

In the wake of predictions that Kodak may file for bankruptcy, economists will likely go over the company’s business decisions for years to come.  But over at the Rethinking Complexity blog, Dennis Rebelo asks:  what if Kodak’s problems were cultural? 

Kodak reached a pinnacle where it could afford to be insular – and did.  “By sequestering itself, the organization created the anti-culture of success,” Rebelo writes. “The culture it carved out disabled "fresh," innovative thinking. Product development, for example, requires market engagement. Kodak didn't even attend the Consumer Electronic Show (or CES) until 2004—amazing evidence of their lack of consumer orientation.”

To prosper at the top, he suggests, companies and individuals must move from striving for security to finding value in creation and innovation for its own sake – a process Abraham Maslow called “Theory Z.”

It’s a fascinating essay.  Read it here

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You are not a job

09/26/2011

KUKA_Industrial_Robots_IR Futurists like Jaron Lanier have been warning us that the same thing that happened to assembly line workers in the 20th century is going to happen to knowledge workers in the 21st:  machines will come in to do the jobs faster and cheaper. 

Of course, in the 20th century it was robots – while in the 21st century it will be software, but the impact will still be the same.  This week in Slate, Farhad Manjoo is reporting from the front lines of software automation … and he says he’s terrified by what these programs can do.

Most people are focused on the economic questions this raises:  how will millions of people earn a living? 

Over at The New Existentialists, however, they're asking a different question:  what will a culture where self-esteem and social standing comes from work do if work becomes the province of machines?

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(Photo by Mixabest under a Creative Commons license)

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Tell us your RC experience!

08/26/2011

Logo-saybrook-seal This week hundreds of Saybrook students, many new, will be coming to San Francisco for the fall Residential Conference – connecting with faculty, attending intensive workshops, and going to classes.

The connections that get made, the community that is formed, and the experiences they have are life changing.  Here are a few we’ve been told about:

"Saybrook rattled me to a core," said psychology alumna Monica Dixon, "and I loved every minute of it. It was the very thing I was seeking ---- a different way of operating. I began to question everything, and that has never stopped. I'm just asking bigger questions now."

"I'm always so impressed by the things that people are doing," says psychology and social transformation student Gianina Pellegrini. "At other schools people have jobs that are just getting them by, and then I go to Saybrook conferences, and I sit with other students who are on peace committees around the world and have done all this amazing work in different countries, and I'm so impressed, and I'm really motivated: I always think, this is what it's all about."

"Saybrook was the first time that I could really pursue anything that I was really passionate about pursuing,” said Human Science student Nick Rorbers. “I look at the Residential Conferences like they're a vacation."

Now, what’s your experience?  Use the comments section below to tell us about your fall 2011 Residential Conference experience.  Good, bad, or just plain interesting, we want to know. 

Leave a note below!

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"To thine own self be true" is a creative manifesto

08/26/2011

The courage to create What does it mean to be authentic?  What standard do you go by?  What external standard can there possibly be, if authenticity is being true to the inner self?  How do you know?

Christina Roberts has some answers.  Her Saybrook dissertation was a study of creative older individuals, and she found a clear link between their creative work and their sense of having lived an authentic life. 

It may be, she suggests, that living authentically is itself a creative act.

She writes about her finding at The New Existentialists.  It's a must read.

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Fear doesn't build character in kids

08/25/2011

Yakunchikova_Fear To say that trying to get kids to do the right thing by scaring them is "common place" is like saying Christmas is a holiday.  In fact, it's EVERYWHERE. 

We try to scare kids about the dangers of drugs, about the dangers of gangs, about what will happen if htey don't get an education, about what could happen if they talk to strangers, about drinking, about driving, about drinking and driving ... you'd almost think we enjoy scaring kids, we do it so much.

But it's effective, right?

At The New Existentialists, Saybrook psychology student Makenna Berry has gone over some of the evidence -- and it turns out that "scared straight" style interventions do little to no short-term good and negative long term impacts.

Uh oh.

Fortunately, there are better approaches we can take to help children navigate a world full of pitfalls.

Read about it here

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Why do we medicate first and ask questions later?

08/09/2011

Schizophrenia_PET_scan It's a common assumption among medical professionals that biochemical conditions must involve biochemical treatments -- you need to pop a pill for your depression and take medication for your blood pressure.

But that doesn't necesarilly follow.  High blood pressure is often best treated by diet and exercise, and depression -- even assuming it is a biochemical condition -- is frequently better addressed by talking with a therapist and changing your life. 

Writing at The New Existentialists, Sarah Kass notes that a recent study has shown that practicing yoga "helps to calm the schizophrenic mind." 

And why wouldn't it?  While the benefits of yoga have only been acknowledged by western medicine relatively recently, it has thousands of years of history behind it as an aid to meditation and a way to help unify mind and body.  The notion that this is inferior to a pill because ... because ... wait, why exactly?  Oh right, because it isn't "medicine."  Well, that's a notion that doesn't make any sense. 

Healthy approached that take the whole person into account should be medicine of first resort, not last - especially since practicing them is still a good idea when you're already healthy.  Unlike medication, the "side effects" of yoga are all positive if you do it right.  It can even serve as preventative medicine - the best kind.

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Who's in charge here?

08/03/2011

The_Three_Stooges Political leaders say they way a “systemic” fix to America’s problems – but Aimee Juarez doesn’t believe them.

Writing at Rethinking Complexity, she suggests that American politicians are very good at causing system problems but not at fixing them.  The only kind of solution congress ever looks for are piecemeal solutions, with little regard to the big picture or long-term consequences.

As a result even good ideas can push us deeper into the hole we’re digging … because systemic problems require system-wide solutions.

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