This interview is such a gold mine.
I differ from the most diseased part of myself, and I think that an irony of spiritual practice is that when you get out of yourself you kind of more become yourself. When I was a little kid I was bouncy and I made a lot noise and I broke shit. I ran around, I was very enthusiastic. In all the pictures of me I’m smiling. Now, I’m pretty happy. I laugh a lot. I have joy on a given day. I’m not a blithering idiot, and I suffer when it’s hot out or it’s raining and I can’t get a cab. I worry about my kid or my friend getting chemo or whatever. I suffer. But I’m pretty happy. And it’s almost like, I remember my mother saying when I was getting sober, “you’re going to come back to that [childhood happiness].” And I said, “Mother, I don’t even fucking remember that.” I just don’t remember feeling that way. But I really think that voice—not the one that says, fuck you, you stupid bitch, you’re a whore, but the one that says, you can do better than this, honey—that voice is God. And that’s actually who you really are. The other stuff that’s telling you what an asshole you are all the time is fucking noise, your ego or your head or whatever. The Buddhists would call it your ego. Pentecostals would call it Satan. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s my fucking head talking.
Feeling-Making Machine: An Interview with Mary Karr – R A I N T A X I o n l i n e Spring 2010
My readers taught me as much about listening and taking people’s problems seriously as anything I have ever done. They taught me the value of what kindness and generosity can do, not only for the person receiving it but for you who give. Of what happens when you give people the space to talk about themselves, and of how much guys will start to talk about their feelings if we give them space to do so.
Advice for Boys – The Bygone Bureau
In my own case, talk therapy was vital. Though it didn’t make the pain go away, it did enable me to do something medication hadn’t, which was to talk and think about myself. It gave me a chance to have someone else confront my pain not as disorder but as part of the human experience. And that made it bearable.
The Medication Generation: Teenagers and Antidepressants – WSJ.com
Let’s go ahead and insert the “studies say” caveat, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff here. Selections:
“All _____ people look alike”
For all of us, whenever people are a different race it’s harder to tell them apart.
“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long”
“You can tell a lot about a man by his handshake”
Absolutely. “Results showed that HGS was correlated with SHRs, aggressive behavior, age at first sexual intercourse, and promiscuity in males but not in females. HGS appears to be an honest signal for genetic quality in males.”
“Happy wife, happy life”
When the husband is happier than the wife, couples are more likely to divorce.
“Attractive women make men stupid”
True. In fact, just thinking about attractive women makes men dumb.
“It’s the booze talking”
No, actually, that’s you talking.
“Spanking is bad for kids”
Kids who were spanked behave better as teenagers.
Which old sayings are true and which are false? – Barking up the wrong tree
The fact that addiction is a clinical condition that is straying into more and more areas of life is itself an interesting sociological phenomenon. It’s not that the field of psychology does not or should not exist, but efforts to cram more and more into this field represents a form of societal dishonesty that rivals the psychic dishonesty of addicts refusing to come clean.
Shame: A Durkheimian Take – The New Inquiry
By the time kids are 18, at least half of them have already received a psychological diagnosis.
If that’s true… wow. (via)
The Decline and Fall of Parental Authority | AlterNet
It’s not simply that you have something to do or say, there is another person who will be responding to you and that response is equally daunting.
Empathy is an ongoing interest of mine.
A Different Take on Empathy | RyanHoliday.net
5. To name is to rule. […] After watching sugar being poured into two glasses of water and then personally affixing a “sucrose” label to one and a “poison” label to the other, people much prefer to drink from the “sucrose” glass and will even shy away from one they label “not poison.” (The subconscious doesn’t process negatives.) Rozin has also found that people are reluctant to tear up a piece of paper with a loved one’s name written on it. Arbitrary symbols carry the essence of what they represent.
I also like this bit on rituals and luck:
People who truly trust in their rituals exhibit a phenomenon known as “illusion of control,” the belief that they have more influence over the world than they actually do. And it’s not a bad delusion to have—a sense of control encourages people to work harder than they might otherwise. In fact, a fully accurate assessment of your powers, a state known as “depressive realism,” haunts people with clinical depression, who in general show less magical thinking.
Woody Allen nailed it:
We need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t.
Magical Thinking – Psychology Today
If you made a Venn diagram of self-promotion, the phenomenon of humblebragging sits in the overlap of two distinctly American pathologies — where manipulative self-consciousness meets our maniacal desire to succeed. What feels better than an ego boost? An ego boost everyone knows about.
The New Inquiry – Consider the Humblebrag
New research finds we’re more likely to believe a piece of false information conveyed in a television drama after two weeks have passed.
Okay yeah yeah yeah you can find any number of things “a recent study” will tell you. But I like this because it makes me think of Tyler Cowen’s talk on being suspicious of stories, which I have listened to probably 6 or 7 times and will do so again starting… now. (via)
Misinformation in TV Drama Gains Credibility Over Time – Miller-McCune