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Rethinking Complexity

It’s A lot Like Synchronized Swimming

10/14/2013
It’s A lot Like Synchronized Swimming
As a teenage, Christine LeGarde, the current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) competed as a member of the French national synchronized swimming team. In an interview with National Public Radio, the reporter pointed out that LeGarde had often compared her IMF role with being a member of her synchronized swimming team. I found the incongruity of the comparison striking. I first thought about the human capacity to make connections; it’s almost like the set-up of a joke: How is international monetary policy making like synchronized swimming? Then I thought about...

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New Existentialists

Education and Conformity

10/14/2013
Education and Conformity
I worked a few years at our state mental institution on a unit for people with chronic problems and especially problems of violence, escapism, and sexual predation. Most of these men were relatively low-functioning, and the longer they had been on the unit, typically the lower their level of function: years of isolation and drug treatment made them “safer.” Sometimes we would get a patient as a transfer who did not quite fit the usual bill. We once received a young man apparently because he was large and Black. He never threatened us or tried to run, was compliant, recovered well...

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Rethinking Complexity

Why We Need New Thinking about Crisis Management

10/11/2013
Why We Need New Thinking about Crisis Management
Our Oct 3 blog post by Gary Metcalf announced Saybrook’s plans to offer a new certificate program in Crisis Management, based on the important work of Ian Mitroff. Mitroff is a systems guy, someone who understands that planning, preparing, and responding to the crises we are experiencing today need a new approach. Angie’s list recently published a recap of some of the stats on Crises, and they are staggering. These include having eight EF-5 tornadoes in the U.S. in the last three years; $62.2 billion insured losses for Hurricane Katrina, and $6 billion insured losses from...

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New Existentialists

Ordinary People, Miraculous Moments of Compassion

10/11/2013
Ordinary People, Miraculous Moments of Compassion
Earlier this week, Jon Stewart interviewed Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For those who don’t know, Malala is a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who the Taliban shot in the head at point blank range two years ago for advocating education for girls. She has since made a full recovery, written a book entitled I Am Malala, and started a foundation to raise money and resources to educate girls who do not have access to education. During this interview, Stewart asked Malala about what she thought when she first learned that the Taliban had put a price on her head. She said...

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New Existentialists

Self-Immolation

10/10/2013
Self-Immolation
The news last week was obsessed with the inability of Congress to govern the country, as demonstrated by the shutdown. Cable sources were distracted for a moment by a woman who ran some barricades and was shot to death as she exited her car on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is our fault. We are a nation increasingly obsessed with violence. Our Congress increasingly looks like Monday night wrestling, with dramatic, contrived, and wholly irrational story lines. This recent failure, though, is not at all newsworthy. It would be more newsworthy if our government actually showed an interest in the...

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Rethinking Complexity

“Reopening Spaces” for African Women Cultural Leadership for Social Transformation – Part 2

10/09/2013
“Reopening Spaces” for African Women Cultural Leadership for Social Transformation – Part 2
In part 1 of this article, I attempted to provide a historical contextualization of the role the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism and introduction of Christianity played in enabling the dominant narrative that African women have not played a significant leadership role in the social, economic, political, spiritual and other spheres of human development within their communities. This historical perspective attempted to make visible the reinforcement of existing male-dominance oriented political systems or the introduction of a patriarchal order by European colonialists and missionaries...

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New Existentialists

Control: This Chimera We Keep Chasing

10/09/2013
Control: This Chimera We Keep Chasing
Two thousand years ago, Epictetus (135 C.E.), the Greek sage and philosopher, articulated very well what I gather to be one of life’s most profound—and somewhat obvious—truths. “Some things we can control, some we cannot.” To learn the difference between the two, is of great value, he says, because preoccupying ourselves with the things that are out of our control will only make us miserable. Easier said than done, sure. But it’s crucial that we consider this. We live in a world where not designing the future and not having plans could be easily viewed as...

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Rethinking Complexity

Reflections on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

10/08/2013
Reflections on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
One of the most recognizable legacies of the humanistic psychology tradition is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Ask any manager or HR professional and they know it. Like many legacy theories, people see it as self-evident and generally would say that they agree with it. It is one of the most useful and well known achievements in the field of humanistic psychology that have been adopted by management. Stated simply, Maslow suggested that human needs can be placed into a graded hierarchy. If people are not able to satisfy a “lower” need, they will remain at that level and not...

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New Existentialists

Living to Believe Rather than to Know: A Meditation on Belief and Knowledge

10/08/2013
Living to Believe Rather than to Know: A Meditation on Belief and Knowledge
There is greater power and vitality in what we believe than in what we know. In a culture that places an alarmingly high value on knowledge, such a statement may sound questionable at best, or at worst merely absurd. However, consider the range of its potential implications. In general, our American ethos does seem to excessively emphasize the importance and role of knowledge in our lives. This is undeniably represented by the ubiquitous clichéd slogan “knowledge is power,” transmuted into an information-driven social current that flows inexorably toward one all-consuming...

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Mind-Body Medicine

Werner Absenger, Saybrook School of MBM PhD Candidate, Examines How Hypnosis Can Impact the Modulation of Cytokines: Report from the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis

10/08/2013
Werner Absenger with his SCEH Scientific Poster

 

Werner Absenger is a PhD Candidate in the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine, with a specialization in healthcare research.  On October 5, 2013, he delivered a presentation to the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, based on his current doctoral research utilizing hypnosis to influence immune function in cancer populations.
Absenger summarized an exhaustive review of 1586 articles in 22 databases to identify credible studies in which hypnosis was used to modify cytokines. He found only six credible studies, with a total of 133 participants.  One of the six studies studied chronic illness.

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