Diagnostic Politics and National Psychoses - Part 2

I want to continue some of my thoughts on psychotherapy and politics that I started to discuss in Tuesday’s post. I’m following the Politicopsychopathology essay by Benjamin Kunkel a bit more closely. The idea of political dream-work is very intriguing. Kunkel describes the persistent sense of deception that now pervades most political debate and discussion in America. The constant praise for ‘job-creators’ by Republicans like Mitt Romney comes in for some close analysis.

Diagnostic Politics and National Psychoses - Part 1

So I have been thinking in psychiatric terms about a number of topics over the past few weeks, in relation to my own work in data management and the contemporary news of the day, which is inescapably about Donald Trump and the American political world in 2016. As the prospect of Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016 becomes increasingly certain, I’ve started to see a few characteristic stories published.

Education and cognitive domination

A brief excerpt in Today’s Professor newsletter from a book edited by Chad Hanson. In the past 20 years, scholars and practitioners have committed to measuring the cognitive outcomes of education. In this chapter, the author assesses the movement that focuses on cognition, to the exclusion of other outcomes. An identity-based framework is offered as an alternative. Howard Bowen (1977) once wrote, “The impact of higher education is likely to be determined more by the kind of people college graduates become than by what they know when they leave college” (p.

Approaching the limits of our understanding

Joi Ito posted about the cognitive limits of organizations at the MIT Media Lab blog. Ito posts a thought provoking slide by Cesar Hidalgo. The slide shows the interaction between the total stock of information in the world and time/history. Human beings, as civilization has evolved, have grown the total stock of information in the world and over time have reached various cognitive limits. It’s not hard to reach the cognitive limit of the individual.

Understanding the Fear of Nuclear Power - Part 2

Rob Stein at the Washington Post adds some more reasons to the nuclear pile. There are many reasons why humans fear radiation so intensely. One reason is because radiation is silent, invisible and odorless. Another is because radiation is associated with cancer, which itself is one of the most feared words. Another reason is that in accidents, as opposed to medical treatments, exposure to radiation is involuntary. Other reasons are the searing images of victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, a generation raised fearing Cold War-mushroom-cloud annihilation and the way radiation is portrayed by popular culture.

Understanding the Fear of Nuclear Power - Part 1

So why are we so collectively scared of nuclear power? Bradford Plumer interviewed some cultural historians in an attempt to answer that question. Our fears of nuclear power have a long history and predate World War Two and Hiroshima. Movies about the dangers of radiation were being made as early as the 1930s. In 1928 a lawsuit brought by the “radium girls” against the United States Radium factory in New Jersey was settled.

The Nuclear Panic Button!

The recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan captured my attention for most of the past week since the March 11 earthquake. Based on the headlines over the last few days it appears that the focus of media attention has shifted to war in Libya. Neither event leads to optimism. The frustrating thing about the nuclear disaster in Japan has been the not unexpected backlash against nuclear power. Having grown up in the 1980s I remember the many nightmares about nuclear war that seemed to plague that decade.

Escaping Minimal Selves and Entertainment Cliches Through Twitter

From Paul Rosenberg at OpenLeft I headed over to Salon and Heather Havrilesky commenting on NBCs new television series “The Event”. The real problem is, we don’t care because there clearly isn’t any larger meaning guiding the action, and the only thing we know about each character is that he/she totally loves his/her fiancĂ©/wife/husband/children sooo much that he/she would do anything to keep them safe. In a country where many viewers don’t have a lot of thoughtful or idealistic notions outside of a “love of family” – worthy though this love obviously is – this is what passes for character development and premise, over and over again.

Creativity, Isolation, and Time

I found a video by John Cleese via Presentation Zen that continues some of the themes from my last post on creativity. I’m not entirely convinced by all the hyperventilating people who claim that the internet is making us stupid. But I do think there is a serious concern about the drawbacks of multitasking, and excessive attention to social media. One key to being more creative, says Cleese, is to avoid interruption.

Social Conformity and Privacy

This list of 10 reasons why people conform to social pressure prompted me to dig into the drafts and publish my last post “Another Privacy Experiment.” A cursory search at Google Scholar shows a lot of material to wade through about the interaction between social conformity and privacy.