Posts tagged with the category Jason Dias
Clients often come to therapy looking for relief from symptoms, armed with talking points from pharmaceutical advertisements (depression is a serious medical condition, I’m taking anti-depressants but I still feel sad, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and I need to correct it).
Sometimes, however, they arrive with a...
Truth and Beauty
An object seen from a distance reveals only its principle.
Beauty is truth and truth beauty.
I've been asking people to try to embody beauty. That is, when you experience something as beautiful how do you feel? What is that like?
This is part of my accelerating quest to encounter the world as a human. Too often I feel...
Faded Chinese Ballroom
I am just returning from the tour that surrounds the International Conference on Existential Psychology in China. We began our visit this year in Shanghai. Most went home from there, with some moving on through other cities. I did some training in Wuhan for pastoral counselors and met up with the rest of the travelers in Shenzhen; we went through...
On Fragile Art and People
I am in a Shanghai art museum, looking at paintings that are hundreds of years old. So old, in fact, that even light damages them. But what good is art kept in the dark, out of view? Why preserve it if it will never be seen?
So these paintings hang behind leaded glass, under dim lights controlled by motion sensors. I see a darkened room that...
The Value of Suicide Ideation
As a student, the clinics where I earned my hours had particular attitudes towards suicide ideation: it is bad and needs to be treated. Lately, I hear about an even more extreme posture from psychiatric institutions: namely, a person who reports suicide ideation cannot be discharged until they no longer report these thoughts.
I have never used a...
The Power to Give and the Power to Receive
I had this experience a couple years ago that has been haunting me off and on ever since.
When guys go “over there,” they know what they are signing up for. They don’t think they are coming back. Their delusion, if they have one, is that their death will have some kind of meaning: they will die honorably, in the line, pulling their brother out of...
Retardation and meaning
Years of working with adults with developmental disabilities have left me with questions regarding the meaning and meaningfulness of the lives of people who experience high levels of mental retardation.
I mean something different here from purpose. What a divine entity might mean for these people must remain a question beyond my ability to...
The difference between "having" Asperger's and "being" Asperger's
I think I “have” Asperger’s disorder. The “have” is in quotes because I’m not certain what it means to “have” it.
If you have pneumonia, you just have it. There are bacteria in your lungs which are detectable and eradicable. You can go from having it to not having it to having it again, and each...
Existential dimensions of Kill Bill: despair, revenge, and the ruinous nature of hope.
In the titular movie, Beatrix Kiddo awakens after several years in a coma brought on by the treacherous actions of Bill, her former boss and lover and father to her child. Both she and her child are presumed comfortably dead by Bill and his employees, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
But Kiddo is no longer dead. She rises from her...
Where the myth of the white male "majority" came from
Diversity is an issue among existential psychologists. We tend to believe we are above the fray because we try to accept each person in an holistic manner. We don’t always care about the labels or make the first move in talking about diversity. Becoming more sensitive about the treatment of “minorities” in our...
Corporate personhood, the Turing test, and free speech
There are basically two statements that sum up the Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case. 1. Corporations have the same rights as American Citizens. 2. Money is the same thing as speech.
If a corporation has the same rights as you or I, and I have the right to say whatever I want in the political process, then a...
The myth of American egalitarianism and the pratice of therapy
It is drummed into us beginning in grade school, that famous line from the Declaration of Independence, the document that started the bloody revolution that is America:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable right.
Our patients have heard this...