Posts tagged with the category Benjamin Wachs
Our Gradually Lowering Standards for Human Interaction
Computers have never passed the Turing Test, but plucky start-ups say software is ready to replace therapists anyway.
That’s according to a recent article in The Atlantic highlighting “The Digital Future of Mental Health” - which doesn’t sound like an overhyped tech-trends piece by a documentarian pushing a movie at...
Moving From Cultural Relativism to Cross-Cultural Values
Where does identity come from? Are you a product of your culture, or are you an independent moral agent?
There is a constant tension in the world between the concept of “culture” and the concept of “universal human rights.” How can both be respected when they conflict?
The authors of a forthcoming paper in the journal Neuroquantology argue that...
The sad split between intellectual culture and human nature - a little light reading
A conversation with a fellow writer turned into miniature a culture war last month when I mentioned that I didn’t believe that the human mind can be reduced to purely biochemical processes – that we are in fact more than a highly complicated biological machine.
“Really?” my friend said. He was baffled. “I...
We turn into villains because we don't know how to be heroes: the appeal of "evil" in the 21st century
Are we addicted to evil?
That’s the provocative question asked by Stephen Metcalf in an article for Slate.com.
By piecing together the etymology of the work “amok” (as in, “he ran amok”), examining the scripted quality of media coverage of spree violence like the shootings in Aurora, and looking at the difference...
With Great Power Comes...Amorality?
Penn State, Goldman Sachs, Enron, University of Virginia, SuperPACS, the Catholic Church–we live in an era of institutional scandal. If you want to know why we are careening from one major institutional scandal to the next, there’s a simple answer: the psychology of power has changed.
To be sure, there’s nothing new about a...
Politics Isn't Biology—How Neurospsychology Fails to Understand Choice
The motto of western science may be: to freedom and back again.
In his magisterial examination of Western culture, historian Jacques Barzun suggests that what makes the West “the West” is that for 500 years (from approximately the Renaissance to the present) a group of related cultures came together on a joint project that led to the...
Our Music Is Getting Sadder. What Does That Say About Us?
If you get depressed when you turn on the radio, it could be the news – or it could be the music.
According to new research, pop music has gotten significantly sadder over the last half-century. That’s measured in terms of tempo (it’s gotten slower), key (minor keys have come to predominate), and subject matter (...
New perspectives on death - a look at the Aghori sect
The way we think about death impacts the way we live our life. "It seems," write Daniel B. Pitchford and Rochelle Suri, "that people live inauthentic lives because the fear of death has a compelling grip on people and most choose to avoid engaging its impact."
It doesn't have to be that way. In a paper now available at The...
Psychopaths and Us
Hypothetical psychopaths and presumed sociopaths have been much in the news lately, with “The Sociopath Next Door” claiming that four percent of the population is a sociopath, and recent media reports suggesting that 10% of Wall Street employees are psychopaths. You’d also have to have a heart of stone not to weep for...
Better treatment for trauma victims
Much of what we commonly think of as psychotherapy has come to be dominated by what we might call the toxicity of everyday life.
People are stressed and upset and depressed not because they have suffered some terrible trauma, but because they are not finding a way to make meaningful choices in a world marked by anomie yet defined by instant...
Must read: Paula J. Caplan says the DSM has always done more harm than good
Writing in the Washington Post, Paula Caplan recalls the story of a mother who had been labled bi-polar and put on psychiatric medication – when in fact her problems were more mundane. She was a new mother; she was sleep deprived; she was working full-time and caring for her dying grandmother.
Since the 1980s, Caplan said she has met...
Facebook Isn't Making Us Lonely, But It's Making It Hard For Us To Be Anything Else
There are a lot of hypotheticals around the question: “if we are lonelier, is our technology to blame?”
A recent article in The Atlantic