It matters that people have a way to use the latest findings in psychology beyond buying a pill for depression. It matters that people have a way of looking at their lives that lets them ask the big questions and determine how they want to live – and that this is supported by therapists and mental health professionals.

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Posts tagged with the category Benjamin Wachs

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal. If that’s true, then what are we to make of a recent study showing that people—men especially—so hate being alone with their thoughts that they’ll shock themselves on a battery rather than spend 15...
Illustration by Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz.
June has been the cruelest month for Artificial Intelligence. This month, a computer program beat the Turning Test—and thereby invalidated the Turing Test. The Turing Test, for those who don’t know, is a test based on a premise by Alan Turing, the computational godfather. The idea: if a computer can be mistaken for a human being, by...
Erik Werenskiold's The Funeral (1883-85).
Much in the way that some families only see each other at funerals, America only seems to have a conversation about mental health when somebody dies. These are the worst times to have such a conversation, because the needs of the survivors are at odds with the needs of a “national discussion about” anything. The result is a kind of...
If there is an “original sin” to intellectual culture of the last 500 years, it is the Big Data fallacy—the idea that if we can just gather up enough raw data, we can finally understand everything we need to know about the world. Is someone not happy? All you have to do is develop a better set of metrics for personality tests. Is...
Photo by Kazemaru Zen.
What does the clinical literature say about how to treat someone whose avatar was sexually abused online? To my knowledge, it doesn't really say anything—but 20 years of reportage from online cultures suggest not only that this experience happens, but that some people experience it as quite traumatizing. Such a violation is the tip of a...
David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times, may be the only major conservative media figure today covering the “evolutionary psychology” beat—along with the “neuropsychology” beat, and the occasional writings of biophysicists and theorists of mind. His writing of the past few years has sought to expose the way...
The legendary movie about the conflict between rote learning and passionate engagement with the humanities at a boys prep school in the 1950s recently celebrated its 20th anniversary—and came in for a resounding barrage of criticism. Kevin Dettmar, an English professor at Pomona College, penned a piece for The Atlantic entitled “Dead...
We call them “helicopter parents,” “tiger moms,” “hoverers,” … we say they’re over-involved.  But for modern parents of means, the impulse to do anything to protect and advance their children is irresistible.  And … come on … who can’t sympathize with that? The result,...
We are deeply unsure about the differences between man and machine in the 21st century. The movie “Her” presumes that a slightly more advanced operating system will be capable of love and self-actualization. In The New York Times, David Brooks has devoted several columns to asking what kind of people will thrive in an era where...
Photo by Bundesarchiv.
These days we think of students as precious little orchids whose self-esteem must not be bruised by their education. The notion of a “teacher” as an authority figure is out of fashion. Have we got it all wrong? Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, author Joanne Lipman made a case that an old-fashioned education is still the...
Photo by Matthew Bowden.
It doesn’t have an Upworthy headline, but a lot of attention is being paid to Amanda Hess’ article for the Pacific Standard explaining “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” Her argument is that a culture of misogyny that has built up in online forums like Twitter, where unrestricted speech and privacy are...
The New York Times’ special report on “The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder”  is one more reminder, in a long trail of breadcrumbs, that we become the stories we tell about ourselves. Things that once seemed inevitable—hardwired in, biologically determined—were, in many cases, inventions to suit our life...