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.
Fortunately, there are better approaches we can take to help children navigate a world full of pitfalls.
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.
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.
A recent upswing in positive reviews of Jung's work, new analysis about Jung's insights, and popular acclaim, Taylor suggests, are signs that even academic psychology - long dominated by "experimentalists" who didn't believe anything they couldn't measure under laboratory conditions - is accepting the value of depth psychology's approach to the human mind.
The first wave of Baby Boomers are retiring, and by some estimates one-in-five Americans will be over 65 by 2030.
How does a culture obsessed with youth cope?
So far, most of our fixes have been technological - and amazing new gadgets to help the elderly function are in the works.
But even the researchers behind these new inventions admit it: our society can't handle this "silver tsumani" without fundamentally changing they way it handles the elderly.
An essay at The New Existentialists suggests that psychology should be playing a key role in this transition. That instead of just trying to "fix" symptoms, psychologists have a vital role to play in providing healthy perspective to people about the a life that includes old age.
Republicans and Democrats? Not so much.
In his recent book, On Compromise and Rotten Compromises, Avishai Margolit, professor emeritus of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, refers to compromise as “an ambivalent concept.” On the one hand, we laud those who can preserve friendship or peace through cooperation. On the other hand, we revile those who too readily accede to intransigence. Compromise can be pragmatic and strategic, consider the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis; compromise can be cowardly and weak, consider much of the historic judgment against policies of appeasement during the rise of Nazi Germany. In an environment where words are chosen carefully to frame a perception in order to influence another’s thinking, how we conceptualize compromise matters.
In 2009 a major study showed that women were increasingly unhappy in the modern world – and a host of pundits, psychologists, and sociologists asked “What’s happened to the fairer sex?”
Was it feminism that was making women less happy? Economic inequality? Higher expectations? Loneliness? Feminism? (That one came up a lot. Apparently people like to blame things on feminism).
Two years later, another data set has been analyzed, and it turns out that the reason more women are unhappy has nothing to do with women. According to the data, we’re ALL less satisfied with life than we were 25 years ago.
Why? What does it mean? At the New Existentialists, they have a pretty good idea: it means we've been trying to become happy by proxy, substituting medication and commercialization for an inner life. Turns out that doesn't work.
Saybrook University is always well represented at the American Psychological Association, with faculty, alumni, and students making presentations, leading panels, and holding debates.
This year they’ll be presenting on everything from using expressive arts in the workplace to the medical uses of hypnosis and the culture of cyberspace.
Saybrook’s annual APA convention dinner, sponsored by Dr. Stanley Krippner and the Saybrook Alumni Association, will be held on Friday, August 5, from 6 - 9 p.m., at Clyde’s of Gallery Place (707 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.).
To RSVP, or for more information, email Saybrook Alumni Director George Aiken, or call: 415-394-5968
A list of Saybrook faculty, student, and alumni presentations at this year’s APA (Aug 4-7) is below:
That, suggest Stewart Brand, is because we think that new information is always better. So what Aristotle thought 2000 years ago is always less relevant than what Ashton Kutcher tweeted five minutes ago.
But there are other ways of thinking about information. Here (with a hat tip to Atlantic Blogger Alexis Madrigal) is a passage from one of Brand’s books:
Most of this book is Used Information. It is reprinted from various issues of The CoEvolution Quarterly, a California-based peculiar magazine. You can look at that news two ways. If you operate by the Bread Model of Information, it's terrible news. You've been gypped - stale information. On the other hand if you view information as something fundamentally different from bread, there's the possibility of good news. Having lived longer, the information here may be wiser, more co-evolved with the world. It may be more refined, having cycled complexly through the minds and responses of 40,000 CQ readers. And it's been through two editorial distillations; the less-than-wonderful and out-of-date may have been extracted.
The notion that there’s value in information that isn’t cutting edge is out of fashion in our world, but it may be crucial to understand in the digital age.