robertogreco + narcissism   29

The Equality Trust | Working to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality
[See also:
(book) "The Spirit Level"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level_(book)
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better[1] is a book by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,[2] published in 2009 by Allen Lane. The book is published in the US by Bloomsbury Press (December, 2009) with the new sub-title: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.[3] It was then published in a paperback second edition (United Kingdom) in November 2010 by Penguin Books with the subtitle, Why Equality is Better for Everyone.[4]

The book argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption".[5] It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal countries, whether rich or poor.[1] The book contains graphs that are available online.[6]

In 2010, the authors published responses to questions about their analysis on the Equality Trust website.[7] As of September 2012, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies in English.[8] It is available in 23 foreign editions.

"The Spirit Level authors: why society is more unequal than ever"
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/society-unequal-the-spirit-level

[follow-up book] "The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wellbeing"
https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/188607/the-inner-level/
Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality.

In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. A deep well of data and analysis is drawn upon to empirically show, for example, that low social status is associated with elevated levels of stress, and how rates of anxiety and depression are intimately related to the inequality which makes that status paramount.

Wilkinson and Pickett describe how these responses to hierarchies evolved, and why the impacts of inequality on us are so severe. In doing so, they challenge the conception that humans are innately competitive and self-interested. They undermine, too, the idea that inequality is the product of 'natural' differences in individual ability. This book sheds new light on many of the most urgent problems facing societies today, but it is not just an index of our ills. It demonstrates that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lays out the path towards them.

"Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?"
https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2018/06/14/does-inequality-cause-suicide-drug-abuse-and-mental-illness

"“The Inner Level” seeks to push that debate forward, by linking inequality to a crisis of mental health. This time the authors’ argument focuses on status anxiety: stress related to fears about individuals’ places in social hierarchies. Anxiety declines as incomes rise, they show, but is higher at all levels in more unequal countries—to the extent that the richest 10% of people in high-inequality countries are more socially anxious than all but the bottom 10% in low-inequality countries. Anxiety contributes to a variety of mental-health problems, including depression, narcissism and schizophrenia—rates of which are alarming in the West, the authors say, and rise with inequality.

Manifestations of mental illness, such as self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse and problem gambling, all seem to get worse with income dispersion, too. Such relationships seem to apply within countries as well as between them. Damaging drug use is higher in more unequal neighbourhoods of New York City, in more unequal American states and in more unequal countries. The authors emphasise that it is a person’s relative position rather than absolute income that matters most. A study of 30,000 Britons found that an individual’s place in the income hierarchy predicted the incidence of mental stress more accurately than absolute income did. And in America, relative income is more closely linked to depression than absolute income. It is not enough to lift all boats, their work suggests, if the poshest vessels are always buoyed up more than the humblest.

The fact that relative status matters so much is a result of human beings’ intrinsically social nature, Ms Pickett and Mr Wilkinson argue. Group interaction and co-operation have been an essential component of humanity’s evolutionary success; indeed, the authors say, its social nature helped drive the growth of human brains. Across primates, they write, the size of the neocortex—a part of the brain responsible for higher-level cognitive functions—varies with the typical group size of a species. Living in complex social groups is hard cognitive work. Survival requires an understanding of roles within the social hierarchy, and intuition of what others are thinking. Thus people are necessarily sensitive to their status within groups, and to social developments that threaten it.

Such hierarchies are found in all human societies. But as inequality rises, differences in status become harder to ignore. There is more to be gained or lost by moving from one rung on the ladder to another. And however much some maintain that disparities in pay-cheques do not correspond to differences in human worth, such well-meaning pieties feel hollow when high-rollers earn hundreds or thousands of times what ordinary folk take home. Money cannot buy everything, but it can buy most things. The steeper the income gradient, the less secure everyone becomes, in both their self-respect and their sense of the community’s esteem.

And so people compensate. They take pills, to steel their nerves or dull the pain. Some cut themselves. Some adopt a more submissive posture, avoiding contact with others. Yet such withdrawal can feed on itself, depriving recluses of the social interaction that is important to mental health, undermining relationships and careers and contributing to economic hardship.

Others respond in the opposite way, by behaving more aggressively and egotistically. Studies of narcissistic tendencies showed a steep increase between 1982 and 2006, the authors report; 30% more Americans displayed narcissistic characteristics at the end of the period than at the beginning. Scrutiny of successive American cohorts found a progressive rise in those listing wealth and fame as important goals (above fulfilment and community). Over time, more people cited money as the main motivation for attending college (rather than intellectual enrichment).

Domineering responses to anxiety are associated with loss of empathy and delusions of grandeur. Thus highly successful people often display narcissistic or even psychopathic behaviour. In surveys, the rich are generally less empathetic and more likely to think they deserve special treatment than others. Modern capitalism, the authors suggest, selects for assertiveness, for a lack of sentimentality in business and comfort in sacking underlings, and for showy displays of economic strength. From the top to the bottom of the income spectrum, people use conspicuous consumption and other means of enhancing their image to project status.

The least secure are often the most likely to exaggerate their qualities. For example, countries with lower average life-expectancy tend to do better on measures of self-reported health; 54% of Japanese say they are in good health compared with 80% of Americans, though the Japanese live five years longer on average. Whereas 70% of Swedes consider themselves to be above-average drivers, 90% of Americans do. Such figures cast declamations of America’s greatness, and the politicians who make them, in a new light."

"The Inner Level review – how more equal societies reduce stress and improve wellbeing"
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/20/the-inner-level-review ]

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmquJ7Ngvme/ ]
equality  inequality  society  trust  anxiety  well-being  stress  mentalhealth  uk  economics  community  socialmobility  class  education  drugs  drugabuse  health  violence  illness  consumption  hierarchy  horizontality  mentalillness  status  self-harm  gambling  depression  narcissism  schizophrenia  relativity  excess  cooperation  egotism  selfishness  empathy  dunning–krugereffect  greatness  politics  lifeexpectancy  japan  sweden  us  driving  capitalism  latecapitalism  fame  fulfillment  money  motivation  colleges  universities  exceptionalism  assertiveness  aggressiveness  richardwilkinson  katepickett  growth  erichfromm 
august 2018 by robertogreco
I Want it All Now! Documentary on Marin County (1978) - YouTube
"From deep in NBC's archives, a funky '70s documentary which brought Marin County, California to national attention, from its fucked up deadbeat parents to its misguided fascination with mystical oriental ooga-booga horseshit. If you ever wondered why people associate peacock feathers and suicide with Marin, this is why. Strangely, Tupac Shakur does not make a cameo.

Each story in this film is an accurate depiction of everyone in Marin and does not deviate from any Marinite's experience, without exception."

[Via: ".@NBCNews did an extraordinary profile of Marin County 40 years ago:" https://twitter.com/nikosleverenz/status/950213237236117504

in response to: "In the 1960s, Marin County pioneered slow-growth environmentalism. Today the county's also home to some of the nation's highest housing costs, decades-old patterns of segregation and has the state's largest racial disparities http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-marin-county-affordable-housing-20170107-story.html "
https://twitter.com/dillonliam/status/950046576554029056 ]
marin  towatch  1978  bayarea  marincounty  1970s  1960s  history  narcissism  wealth  happiness  psychology  self  self-help  selfishness  race  racism  suburbs  sanfrancisco  capitalism  californianideology 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Mindfulness training does not foster empathy, and can even make narcissists worse – Research Digest
"Sharing with others, helping people in need, consoling those who are distressed. All these behaviours can be encouraged by empathy – by understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, and sharing their emotions. Enhance empathy, especially in those who tend to have problems with it – like narcissists – and society as a whole might benefit. So how can it be done?

In fact, the cultivation of empathy is a “presumed benefit” of mindfulness training, note the authors of a new study, published in Self and Identity, designed to investigate this experimentally. People who are “mindfully aware” focus on the present moment, without judgement. So, it’s been argued, they should be better able to resist getting caught up in their own thoughts, freeing them to think more about the mental states of other people. As mindfulness courses are increasingly being offered in schools and workplaces, as well as in mental health settings, it’s important to know what such training can and can’t achieve. The new results suggest it won’t foster empathy – and, worse, it could even backfire.

Anna Ridderinkhof, at the University of Amsterdam, and her colleagues divided 161 adult volunteers in three groups. Each completed questionnaires assessing their levels of narcissistic and also autistic traits. It’s already known that people who score highly on narcissism (who feel superior to others, believe they are entitled to privileges and want to be admired) tend to experience less “affective empathy”. They aren’t as likely to share the emotional state of another person. People who score highly on autistic traits have no problem with affective empathy, but tend to show impairments in “cognitive empathy”. They find it harder to work out what other people are feeling.

One group spent five minutes in a guided mindfulness meditation, in which they were encouraged to focus on the physical sensations of breathing, while observing any thoughts, without judging them. The second group took part in a relaxation exercise (so any effects of stress relief alone could be examined). People in the control group were invited to let their minds wander, and to be immersed in their thoughts and feelings.

After these exercises, the researchers tested the volunteers’ propensity to feel cognitive empathy, via the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, which involves identifying emotions from photographs of people’s eyes, and they also tested their affective empathy, by analysing how much emotional concern they showed toward a player who was socially rejected in a ball game.

There is some debate about whether a greater capacity for empathy would be helpful for most people. Some researchers, such as Professor Tania Singer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, even suggest that an “excess” of empathy explains what’s often termed “burnout” in members of caring professions, such as nurses. But Ridderinkhof’s team predicted that mindfulness training would improve empathy in the volunteers who needed it most: in people with high levels of autistic or narcissistic traits.

It didn’t. While there was no overall effect on empathy in the mindfulness group, further analysis revealed that, compared with the control and relaxation groups combined, non-narcissists who completed the mindfulness exercise did show a slight improvement specifically in cognitive empathy, but for narcissistic people, their cognitive empathy was actually reduced. For the people who scored highly on autistic traits, meanwhile, there was no effect on mind-reading accuracy, though there were intriguing signs of greater prosocial behaviour, indicated by an increase in the number of passes of the ball to socially excluded individuals.

Since volunteers were encouraged not to judge any thoughts they had during the mindfulness meditation, this might indeed have helped non-narcissists let go of self-critical thoughts, allowing them to think more about the mental states of others, the researchers suggest. “By contrast, it may have ironically ‘licensed’ narcissistic individuals to focus more exclusively on their self-aggrandising thoughts.” As a result, they may have thought even less about the mental states of others.

Critics may argue that a single five-minute mindfulness meditation exercise is simply not enough, and that improvements in empathy – in non-narcissists, at least – might perhaps show up with longer sessions. While the research team thinks this is worth exploring, there is evidence from earlier studies (that lacked a proper control group) that five-minute sessions can increase accuracy on a mind-reading test, for example. It was reasonable to opt for a brief session in this study, they argue.

Future research might also investigate whether alternative approaches – perhaps training the related concept of “compassion” (which involves “feeling for” rather than “feeling with” a person in psychological pain, and is advocated by Singer) might help narcissists behave more pro-socially."

["Does mindfulness meditation increase empathy? An experiment"
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15298868.2016.1269667 ]
narcissism  mindfulness  meditation  emmayoung  2017  empathy  behavior  psychology  cognitiveempathy  annaridderinkhof 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Pleasures of Community - YouTube
"There’s a lot of pressure on us to make our individual lives interesting. But sometimes, the best experiences aren’t those connected up with our personal triumphs; they’re moments of joy at belonging with others."
community  individualism  media  presentation  life  social  people  interdependence  schooloflife  competition  narcissism  normalcy  kindness  trust  sports  sharing  communitycenters  collectivism  belonging  society  collectivepride 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Solving All the Wrong Problems - The New York Times
"We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. In fact, the bulk of the above list targets a very specific (and tiny!) slice of the population. As one colleague in tech explained it to me recently, for most people working on such projects, the goal is basically to provide for themselves everything that their mothers no longer do.

He was joking — sort of — but his comment made me think hard about who is served by this stuff. I’m concerned that such a focus on comfort and instant gratification will reduce us all to those characters in “Wall-E,” bound to their recliners, Big Gulps in hand, interacting with the world exclusively through their remotes.

Too many well-funded entrepreneurial efforts turn out to promise more than they can deliver (i.e., Theranos’ finger-prick blood test) or read as parody (but, sadly, are not — such as the $99 “vessel” that monitors your water intake and tells you when you should drink more water).

When everything is characterized as “world-changing,” is anything?

Clay Tarver, a writer and producer for the painfully on-point HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” said in a recent New Yorker article: “I’ve been told that, at some of the big companies, the P.R. departments have ordered their employees to stop saying ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ specifically because we have made fun of that phrase so mercilessly. So I guess, at the very least, we’re making the world a better place by making these people stop saying they’re making the world a better place.”

O.K., that’s a start. But the impulse to conflate toothbrush delivery with Nobel Prize-worthy good works is not just a bit cultish, it’s currently a wildfire burning through the so-called innovation sector. Products and services are designed to “disrupt” market sectors (a.k.a. bringing to market things no one really needs) more than to solve actual problems, especially those problems experienced by what the writer C. Z. Nnaemeka has described as “the unexotic underclass” — single mothers, the white rural poor, veterans, out-of-work Americans over 50 — who, she explains, have the “misfortune of being insufficiently interesting.”

If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?

In “Design: The Invention of Desire,” a thoughtful and necessary new book by the designer and theorist Jessica Helfand, the author brings to light an amazing kernel: “hack,” a term so beloved in Silicon Valley that it’s painted on the courtyard of the Facebook campus and is visible from planes flying overhead, is also prison slang for “horse’s ass carrying keys.”

To “hack” is to cut, to gash, to break. It proceeds from the belief that nothing is worth saving, that everything needs fixing. But is that really the case? Are we fixing the right things? Are we breaking the wrong ones? Is it necessary to start from scratch every time?

Empathy, humility, compassion, conscience: These are the key ingredients missing in the pursuit of innovation, Ms. Helfand argues, and in her book she explores design, and by extension innovation, as an intrinsically human discipline — albeit one that seems to have lost its way. Ms. Helfand argues that innovation is now predicated less on creating and more on the undoing of the work of others.

“In this humility-poor environment, the idea of disruption appeals as a kind of subversive provocation,” she writes. “Too many designers think they are innovating when they are merely breaking and entering.”

In this way, innovation is very much mirroring the larger public discourse: a distrust of institutions combined with unabashed confidence in one’s own judgment shifts solutions away from fixing, repairing or improving and shoves them toward destruction for its own sake. (Sound like a certain presidential candidate? Or Brexit?)

Perhaps the main reason these frivolous products and services frustrate me is because of their creators’ insistence that changing lives for the better is their reason for being. To wit, the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who has invested in companies like Airbnb and Twitter but also in services such as LikeALittle (which started out as a flirting tool among college students) and Soylent (a sort of SlimFast concoction for tech geeks), tweeted last week: “The perpetually missing headline: ‘Capitalism worked okay again today and most people in the world got a little better off.’ ”

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where such companies are based, sea level rise is ominous, the income gap between rich and poor has been growing faster than in any other city in the nation, a higher percentage of people send their kids to private school than in almost any other city, and a minimum salary of $254,000 is required to afford an average-priced home. Who exactly is better off?

Ms. Helfand calls for a deeper embrace of personal vigilance: “Design may provide the map,” she writes, “but the moral compass that guides our personal choices resides permanently within us all.”

Can we reset that moral compass? Maybe we can start by not being a bunch of hacks."
2016  allisonarieff  siliconvalley  problemsolving  disruption  claytarver  sanfrancisco  capitalism  jessicahelfand  books  invention  narcissism  theranos  comfort  instantgratification  hacking  innovation  publicdiscourse  publicgood  inequality  marcandreessen  morality  moralcompass  soylent  venturecapitalism  brexit  us  priorities 
july 2016 by robertogreco
bell hooks: Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness - The New York Times
"G.Y.: Absolutely. You’ve talked about how theory can function as a place of healing. Can you say more about that?

b.h.: I always start with children. Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them. I think that theory is essentially a way to make sense of the world; as a gifted child growing up in a dysfunctional family where giftedness was not appreciated, what held me above water was the idea of thinking through, “Why are Mom and Dad the way they are?” And those are questions that are at the heart of critical thinking. And that’s why I think critical thinking and theory can be such a source of healing. It moves us forward. And, of course, I don’t know about other thinkers and writers, but I have the good fortune every day of my life to have somebody contacting me, either on the streets or by mail, telling me about how my work has changed their life, how it has enabled them to go forward. And what greater gift to be had as a thinker-theorist, than that?"



"G.Y.: Is there a connection between teaching as a space of healing and your understanding of love?

b.h.: Well, I believe whole-heartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love, and that includes teaching. I don’t do a lot of teaching these days. I am semi-retired. Because, like any act of love, it takes a lot of your energy."



"G.Y.: You’ve conceptualized love as the opposite of estrangement. Can you say something about that?

b.h.: When we engage love as action, you can’t act without connecting. I often think of that phrase, only connect. In terms of white supremacy right now for instance, the police stopped me a few weeks ago here in Berea, because I was doing something wrong. I initially felt fear, and I was thinking about the fact that in all of my 60-some years of my life in this country, I have never felt afraid of policemen before, but I feel afraid now. He was just total sweetness. And yet I thought, what a horrible change in our society that that level of estrangement has taken place that was not there before.

I know that the essential experience of black men and women has always been different, but from the time I was a girl to now, I never thought the police were my enemy. Yet, what black woman witnessing the incredible abuse of Sandra Bland can’t shake in her boots if she’s being stopped by the police? When I was watching that video, I was amazed the police didn’t shoot her on the spot! White supremacist white people are crazy.

I used to talk about patriarchy as a mental illness of disordered desire, but white supremacy is equally a serious and profound mental illness, and it leads people to do completely and utterly insane things. I think one of the things that is going on in our society is the normalization of mental illness, and the normalization of white supremacy, and the evocation and the spreading of this is part of that mental illness. So remember that we are a culture in crisis. Our crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is a political crisis, and that’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. was so profoundly prescient in describing how the work of love would be necessary to have a transformative impact.

G.Y.: And of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t find an important place in your work for rage, as in your book “Killing Rage”?

b.h.: Oh, absolutely. The first time that I got to be with Thich Nhat Hanh, I had just been longing to meet him. I was like, I’m going to meet this incredibly holy man. On the day that I was going to him, every step of the way I felt that I was encountering some kind of racism or sexism. When I got to him, the first thing out of my mouth was, “I am so angry!” And he, of course, Mr. Calm himself, Mr. Peace, said, “Well, you know, hold on to your anger, and use it as compost for your garden.” And I thought, “Yes, yes, I can do that!” I tell that story to people all the time. I was telling him about the struggles I was having with my male partner at the time and he said, “It is O.K. to say I want to kill you, but then you need to step back from that, and remember what brought you to this person in the first place.” And I think that if we think of anger as compost, we think of it as energy that can be recycled in the direction of our good. It is an empowering force. If we don’t think about it that way, it becomes a debilitating and destructive force.

G.Y.: Since you mentioned Sandra Bland, and there are so many other cases that we can mention, how can we use the trauma that black people are experiencing, or reconfigure that trauma into compost? How can black people do that? What does that look like therapeutically, or collectively?

b.h.: We have to be willing to be truthful. And to be truthful, we have to say, the problem that black people face, the trauma of white supremacy in our lives, is not limited to police brutality. That’s just one aspect. I often say that the issue for young black males is the street. If you only have the streets, you encounter violence on all sides: black on black violence, the violence of addiction, and the violence of police brutality. So the question is why at this stage of our history, with so many wealthy black people, and so many gifted black people, how do we provide a place other than the streets for black males? And it is so gendered, because the street, in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, is male, especially when it is dark. There is so much feeling of being lost that it is beyond the trauma of racism. It is the trauma of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because poverty has become infinitely more violent than it ever was when I was a girl. You lived next door to very poor black people, but who had very joyful lives. That’s not the poverty of today.

G.Y.: How is the poverty of today different?

b.h.: Let’s face it, one of the things white people gave us when they gave us integration was full access to the tormenting reality of desire, and the expectation of constant consumption. So part of the difference of poverty today is this sort of world of fantasy — fantasizing that you’ll win the lottery, fantasizing that money will come. I always cling to Lorraine Hansberry’s mama saying in “A in Raisin in the Sun,” “Since when did money become life?” I think that with the poverty of my growing up that I lived with and among, we were always made to feel like money is not what life is all about. That’s the total difference for everyone living right now, because most people in our culture believe money is everything. That is the big tie, the connecting tie to black, white, Hispanic, native people, Asian people — the greed and the materialism that we all invest in and share.

G.Y.: When you make that claim, I can see some readers saying that bell is pathologizing black spaces.

b.h.: As I said, we have normalized mental illness in this society. So it’s not the pathologizing of black spaces; it’s saying that the majority of cultural spaces in our society are infused with pathology. That’s why it’s so hard to get out of it, because it has become the culture that is being fed to us every day. None of us can escape it unless we do so by conscious living and conscious loving, and that’s become harder for everybody. I don’t have a problem stating the fact that trauma creates wounds, and most of our wounds are not healed as African-Americans. We’re not really different in that way from all the others who are wounded. Let’s face it — wounded white people frequently can cover up their wounds, because they have greater access to material power.

I find it fascinating that every day you go to the supermarket, and you look at the people, and you look at us, and you look at all of this media that is parading the sorrows and the mental illnesses of the white rich in our society. And it’s like everybody just skips over that. Nobody would raise the question, “why don’t we pathologize the rich?” We actually believe that they suffer mental illness, and that they deserve healing. The issue for us as black people is that very few people feel that we deserve healing. Which is why we have very few systems that promote healing in our lives. The primary system that ever promoted healing in black people is the church, and we see what is going on in most churches today. They’ve become an extension of that material greed.

G.Y.: As you shared being stopped by police, I thought of your book “Black Looks: Race and Representation,” where you describe whiteness as a site of terror. Has that changed for you?

b.h.: I don’t think that has changed for most black people. That particular essay, “Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” talks about whiteness, the black imagination, and how many of us live in fear of whiteness. And I emphasize the story about the policeman because for many of us that fear of whiteness has intensified. I think that white people, for the most part, never think about black people wanting to be in black only spaces, because we do not feel safe.

In my last book, “Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice,” I really wanted to raise and problematize the question: Where do we feel safe as black people? I definitely return to the home as a place of spiritual possibility, home as a holy place.

I bought my current house from a conservative white male capitalist who lives across the street from me, and I’m so happy in my little home. I tell people, when I open the doors of my house it’s like these arms come out, and they’re just embracing me. I think that is part of our radical resistance to the culture of domination. I know that I’m not who he imagined in this little house. He imagined a nice white family with two kids, and I think on some level it was very hard for … [more]
bellhooks  2015  georgeyancy  buddhism  christianity  spirituality  religion  race  class  patriarchy  racism  classism  mentalillness  money  greed  mentalhealth  society  capitalism  consumerism  materialism  domination  power  gender  feminism  idenity  listening  love  humor  martinlutherkingjr  cornelwest  allies  influence  homes  intellectualism  theory  practice  criticalthinking  pedagogy  writing  children  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  howweteach  oedagogy  solitude  workinginpublic  publicintellectuals  narcissism  healing  malcolmx  blackness  whitesupremacy  abandonment  betrayal  anger  masculinity  markmcleodbethune  resistance  safety  whiteness  terror  wealth  imperialism  inequality  pathology  poverty  truth  truthfulness  sandrabland  thichnhathanh  activism  estrangement  everyday  humanism  humanization  humility  grace  change  changemaking  transformation  canon  empowerment  composting  desire  lotteries  lorrainehansberry  araisininthesun  culture  trauma  sorrow  leadership  psychology  self-determination  slow  small  beatpoets  jackkerouac  garysnyder  beatpoetry  ethics 
december 2015 by robertogreco
THE CHAGALL POSITION: Tidy Words & the End of the World: LeRoi Jones Reads a New Yorker Poem
"Baraka nails the essential quality of the New Yorker poem in a compact formulation: a carefully put-together exercise published as high poetic art. And when it comes to literary standards nothing has changed in the half century plus since the poet shed tears over that alienating poem – New Yorker still puts a premium on carefully put-together exercises that it publishes as high poetic art. This is just as true of the magazine’s fiction, which represents the “quality” apogee of the MFA cookie-cutter “epiphany story.” Wrapped up in tidy packages of psychological realism, these stories reflect the spurious “humanism” of the liberal professional-managerial class that is really a form of fatuous, self-congratulatory narcissism and an apologetics for a racist, imperialist, and exploitative status quo. Such work is “well-crafted,” meticulous, careful, “clean,” and absolutely risk free – the literary equivalent of a gentrified neighborhood. It’s a neighborhood (Baraka even calls it, perceptively, a “place”) where people like the aspiring Black writer are not welcome, where they are the excluded Other.

In the yearning for social mobility that painfully inflects his response, the young poet of the autobiography implicitly realizes how this “high poetic art” functions as a marker of status, what Pierre Bourdieu calls “distinction.” New Yorker verse and fiction are indeed high-end consumer commodities, of a piece with the tailored clothes, pricey jewelry, and haute cuisine dining spots that share its pages. It’s a cultural “address”, but – as commentators such as Sharon Zukin and David Harvey have shown – one that is eminently available to be cross-mapped onto real space, in urban neighborhoods across the US and around the globe.


One way that this type of “cultural address” manifests itself in the contemporary urban arena is the phenomenon of “cultural districts,” specially designated clusters of arts and humanities venues which then become the focus of public-private investment partnerships. There are many such districts in Massachusetts already, including two here in Boston, the Fenway Cultural District and the new Boston Literary District. According to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state body that awards such designations, the ultimate goal of cultural districts is “enhancing property values and making communities more attractive” – i.e., gentrification."



"Social exclusion and symbolic violence inflict real damage and pain, the pain of marginality, invisibility, and muteness – cultural apartheid. It is precisely the type of pain that Amiri Baraka’s younger self experienced while reading that New Yorker poem. The passage from Baraka’s autobiography struck me because I encountered it at the very time I was writing about the Boston Book Festival’s failure, for the fifth year in a row, to select a local African American or Latina/o author for their flagship “One City One Story” program. One of the “Executive Partners” in organizing the Boston Literary District, the BBF states that this citywide “Big Read” event is supposed to promote literacy and “create a community around a shared reading experience.” Yet what kind of community are they creating? Boston is at least 42% Black and Latina/o, but in the 5 years of One City One Story’s existence they’ve chosen 4 white authors and 1 Asian-American author. The stories themselves, moreover, are very much of the same “carefully constructed exercises” (white and uptight) that continue to be published “as high poetic art” in the New Yorker.

I wonder how many minority youth in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan were assigned the book festival’s 2014 offering, Jennifer Haigh’s “Sublimation,” in their high school English classes. No doubt they were exhorted that they were participating in civic life, and that the story’s values and outlook were somehow “universal” and relevant to their own experience. And no doubt that many of them felt the same confusion and shame and anger that LeRoi Jones felt reading that New Yorker poem in San Juan over a half century ago.

I hope none of them shed tears over it, though – the story wasn’t worth it."

[via: http://botpoet.tumblr.com/post/103457338970/wrapped-up-in-tidy-packages-of-psychological ]
amiribaraka  leroijones  newyorker  mfa  writing  realism  narcissism  racism  imperialism  statusquo  gentrification  literature  edmondcaldwell  socialmobility  commodities  consumerism  mainstream  elitism  culture  sharonzukin  davidharvey  arts  art  humanities  marginality  invisibility  muteness  culturalapartheid  race  homogeneity  2014 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Narcissists: Sexists, Racists, Child Abusers, Saboteurs, Internet Trolls | yesivebeenthere2
"If a narcissist is trying to manipulate you in any other way, just give them a look that says, “I see exactly what you’re doing” — and float above it.

Once you see the malignant narcissist for the mewling, scrabbling eternal toddler they are, somehow all their machinations fall away and all you can feel is pity for their miserable existence. (But don’t let that pity fool you into trying to “help.” Narcissists love playing the victim as much as any other role. That is, after all, why they are always blaming anything else but themselves for their actions.)

Remember, they’re saying that thing to you specifically because the biggest thrill in a narcissist’s life is to feed you inputs and watch you dance, like a puppet, because they’re getting something out of it, be it reinforcement or power. (Just like a baby who discovers that if he knocks the blocks off his high chair, they fall over, and mommy or daddy will pick them up, again, and again. Only the baby grows out of this infantile display of power, and the narcissist never will.)

Finally: If a narcissist starts to abuse you overtly or covertly, run away, as far and fast as you can, because they can never be reformed, because they will never believe it’s wrong, and they will never stop, just change tactics. If you can’t escape completely, bring your interactions with them into the outside world as much as possible (e.g. in public), because all but the most far-gone narcissists will dial it back to preserve their carefully tended image. If people do not believe you, because the narcissist seems “so nice” out in public, find a way to prove it, get help, and get out."
sociopathy  narcissism  abuse  psychology  trolls  racism  sexism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
What Corporate Climbers Can Teach Us - WSJ
"The Manipulator: Influences others for own gain
Dark Side: Uses flattery to influence others. Deceives others to get desired results.
Silver Lining: Skilled in negotiating, enjoys combat. Good at forming political alliances.



Narcissist
Dark Side: Wants to be the center of attention. Uses appearance, charm to seek prestige and status.
Silver Lining: Pitches own ideas with enthusiasm, makes a good first impression.



Antisocial Personality: Unconcerned with others' feelings or welfare
Dark Side: Impulsive and thrill-seeking, tends toward antagonism.
Silver Lining: Tends to think creatively, tests limits."
personality  careerism  ambition  corporatism  2014  psychology  sociopaths  behavior  manipulation  narcissism  impulsivity  antagonism  attention  status 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Millsin' About
"The shame of it all is that I know that even as I whine about how awful I am, my awfulness is far, far worse for others, practically, than it is for me; I damage others, interfere with their happiness, complicate their lives. I am not “good”; it is not “good” to know me, to have me in your life. But my narcissism is such that all I think of is how hard it is to be bad, how much I hate not being good, how much I wish I were a good part of peoples’ lives. The self-centeredness of it all is nauseating, and I am nauseated, but I’ve been nauseated since Thursday: so what. For how long does one treat one’s nature as a crisis? A crisis cannot last forever."
millsbaker  psychology  dogs  animals  life  living  self  narcissism  relationships  2013  awfulness  goodness  bipolardisorder 
may 2013 by robertogreco
So Why Read (Fiction) Any More? « Commentary Magazine
"The truth is otherwise. Remove the author and all you do is to remove every restraint upon Narcissistic Reading Disorder. To read an author is to read someone different from ourselves. Reading is not a means of self-affirmation, but of self-denial. Any book that is any good challenges its readers…

Hence reading is self-mastery, because the self (and its affirmations) are held in check while the author (and his structures of thought) are fully attended to. True diversity in literature would be to read authors in circumstances as different from our own as possible, because we might then imagine ourselves as different than we are — not the creature of circumstances, but their master. Reading is fundamental, all right: to a person’s ethical development."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/16901462693/hence-reading-is-self-mastery-because-the-self ]
2012  jvcunningham  victordavishanson  roalndbarthes  christopherhitchens  self-denial  self-mastery  umbertoeco  foucault  narcissisticreadingdisordet  narcissism  fiction  learning  empathy  reading  authors  literature  michelfoucault  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Leadership Tips from Tony Hayward (or Not) - Rosabeth Moss Kanter - Harvard Business Review
"• Deny and minimize problems. Drop any mention of the high-minded principles you announced at the beginning of your term, such as…a culture that puts people first. Sweep them under the rug…Or better yet, find someone else to blame…

• Emphasize your own power and importance. Keep yourself front and center all the time. Rarely bring forward the rest of the team, nor even indicate that it's a team effort.

• Make the story all about you. Talk about your heavy burdens and the costs to your life. When forced to acknowledge the true victims, pay lip service.

• Never apologize, and don't even pretend to learn from your mistakes. Brush off public disapproval, and persist in the same mindless behavior…

• Hang onto your job even when it's clear you should go, in order to negotiate the highest severance package, whether you deserve it or not. Don't even consider a deferred resignation to allow for smooth suggestion. Cling to power, and keep everyone guessing to the very end."

[via: http://blogs.hbr.org/haque/2011/07/how_our_economy_was_overrun_by.html ]
business  management  leadership  2010  tcsnmy  administration  narcissism  hownottodoit  hownotto  inmyexperience  denial  power  importance  seenthis  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Play Ethic: Playing well: ten years of The Play Ethic
"wanted a new generation of "soulitarians" to exult in flexibility of new kinds of employment, be excited about transformative power of digitality & networks, recover child-like sense of optimism & creativity…very energies of play - not exclusively our own as a species, but something we uniquely retain right to end of our lives - shows we are a radical animal. Play gives us capacity to flexibly respond to almost any situation our environment throws at us. My aim now is still to explore what an "ethic" for play might be - but one which picks through its wide range of potentiating options, & tries to develop best ones for sustainable society.

…rise of "maker" culture…moved from coding to concrete reality - is an example of a dimension of play that could really help us get beyond a wastefully consumerist society. Makers promote a sociable tinkering, where we use hi-tech to skill ourselves and provide for ourselves more and more, rather than a lazy, brand-directed consumption."

[via: http://magicalnihilism.com/2010/12/31/leg-godt/ ]
play  work  patkane  playethic  makers  doers  hackers  hackerculture  well-being  flexibility  education  unschooling  deschooling  ethics  tcsnmy  learning  sustainability  society  consumerism  consumption  tinkering  glvo  lcproject  teaching  experimentation  joy  janemcgonigal  gamification  hideandseek  happiness  policy  briansutton-smith  competition  gamers  videogames  gaming  games  environment  innovation  invention  narcissism  freedom  openness  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
The empathy deficit - The Boston Globe
"Even as they become more connected, young people are caring less about others" ... [Goes on to explain, but there is this note near the end] … "Konrath also warns that it’s hard to know if the problem is as acute as the study shows. College students aren’t a representative slice of America. In order to know if empathy is truly declining, Konrath said, she would need to run a study that captures the full picture of the populace — research that her group has already started. And though the findings aren’t published yet, Konrath said, the early indications are that the national findings support what they have already found. “People who were born in the ’80s or later,” she said, “are lowest in empathy, regardless of whether they have a college degree or not.”"

[Same study that I cited when writing this: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/647435454/empathy ]
empathy  youth  trends  empathydeficit  narcissism  behavior  research  sarahkonrath  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Is Narcissism Good for Business? - ScienceNOW
"Narcissists, new experiments show, are great at convincing others that their ideas are creative even though they're just average. Still, groups with a handful of narcissists come up with better ideas than those with none, suggesting that self-love contributes to real-world success.

Narcissism and creativity seem to go hand in hand. Creative people often appear self-important, hungry for attention, and unconcerned with others' ideas and opinions— all traits narcissists share. Think of Pablo Picasso, famous for his iconoclastic paintings but infamous for declaring, "I am God." Like Picasso, narcissists often rise to positions of importance in art, business, and other endeavors, suggesting that they have ability and ideas that others do not."
narcissism  creativity  business  scuccess  ideas  ideageneration  confidence  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Fear of Spoiling
"Even if a researcher did show that today’s youth were unusually self-centered, we might be inclined to attribute that to an extraordinary emphasis on achievement and winning in contemporary America, schooling that’s focused on narrowly defined academic skills, excessive standardized testing, copious amounts of homework, and a desperate competition for awards, distinctions, and admission to selective colleges. Indeed, earlier research has shown that competitive individuals -- or people who have been instructed to compete -- tend to be less empathic and less generous. In any case, neither logic nor evidence seems to support the widely accepted charge that we’re too easy on our children. Yet that assumption continues to find favor across the political spectrum. It seems, then, that we’ve finally found something to bring the left and the right together: an unsubstantiated critique of parents, an unflattering view of kids, and a dubious belief that the two are connected."
alfiekohn  education  entitlement  parenting  generations  2010  generationme  narcissism  spoiled  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  behavior  discipline  psychology  motivation 
july 2010 by robertogreco
csessums.com » Blog Archive » Generation Meh: Empathy and College Students Today
"The implications for reported low empathy findings are complex. For teachers, the Times article & report provide an opportunity to discuss these findings w/ their students. The key here is opening up an opportunity for dialog w/ students allowing them to share their thoughts on the issue of empathy. Keeping a journal that shows what kids are doing w/ their time outside school & a class discussion around their findings might also be useful & revealing to students. Role-playing is another safe & pro-social way to engage students in a discussion which, in turn, can help deepen their knowledge of empathy & empathetic behavior. While these suggested activities only scratch the surface, developing empathy & empathetic behavior is a critical skill that cannot be overlooked. If we want this depressing news regarding empathy in children & young adults to change, then we need to act now. If we don’t, as the Times article suggests, “don’t expect the next generation to sigh over it, too.”
empathy  narcissism  entitlement  netgen  generations  students  culture  ego  christophersessums  stephendownes  society  millennials 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Trouble With Teens | China Power
"Having skipped tumultuous teenage years, Chinese are forever doomed to live as teenagers all their lives. Whereas Americans may be stubborn, moody, quick to anger, insecure, impetuous, condescending, extreme, & paranoid in teenage years, Chinese may suffer from these psychological issues all their lives. The psychologists who wrote Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, & Real Boys may not be happy w/ how American families & schools are distorting emotional development of children, but if they came to China they’d faint in horror & despair."

[via http://twitter.com/janchip/status/15102206749 "wobbly sociology+sterotypes and/but interesting" ]
china  education  opinion  social  teens  youth  empathy  independence  self  identity  parenting  schools  tcsnmy  chinese  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  adolescence  management  business  cooperation  collaboration  aynrand  narcissism  well-being  socialemotionallearning  culture  students  us  socialemotional 
may 2010 by robertogreco
There is no one right way (teaching = asymptote) « Re-educate
"There is no one right way, and that includes whatever your school or your classroom—no matter how great it is—is doing right now..."
education  progress  change  progressive  tcsnmy  humility  narcissism  learning  cv  teaching  pscs  iteration  process  asymptote  metaphor  pugetsoundcommunityschool 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Our Report Card
"We had children & became unschoolers. We teach [them] how to find information. We teach them that info & skills are choices as much as talents. You choose info, you choose tools, & you often choose your skill. Skill generally being a matter of practice. Not completely, but generally.
capitalism  information  learning  unschooling  deschooling  education  homeschool  tcsnmy  mit  informationage  freedom  sharing  scarcity  society  narcissism  sklls  tools  lcproject  parenting  glvo 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Narcissism in Gen Y: Is it Increasing or Not? Two opposing perspectives - The Jury Expert
"Until recently, much of the material on generational differences was based on conjecture. Authors such as William Strauss and Neil Howe (Generations, Millennials Rising) argued that generations came in cycles of four (for example, they predicted that those born after 1982 would resemble the “Greatest Generation” who fought WWII and would thus be civically-oriented rule followers). However, outside of some broad behavioral data from the U.S. Census, they had no real data to support their theories – nothing that would confirm or disconfirm the psychological differences captured in their ideas. ... much of what my research uncovered was inconsistent with Strauss and Howe’s theories. At least in terms of psychological differences, generations do not occur in cycles; instead, the changes are primarily linear, with each generation taking the previous generations’ traits to the next level."

[via: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/06/are-generational-traits-cyclical.html ]
strauss&howe  generations  millennials  genx  geny  boomers  babyboomers  demographics  sociology  psychology  youth  culture  books  research  narcissism  entitlement 
june 2009 by robertogreco
What is narcissistic personality disorder, and why does everyone seem to have it? - By Emily Yoffe - Slate Magazine
"A recent study titled "Leader Emergence: The Case of the Narcissistic Leader" describes how narcissists have skills and qualities—confidence, extraversion, a desire for power—that propel them into leadership roles but that when true narcissists are in charge, other aspects of their makeup—a feeling the rules don't apply to them, a need for constant stroking—can have "disastrous consequences.""
narcissism  psychology  personality  intelligence  perception  leadership  culture  crisis  finance 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Ypulse: Documentation Vs. 'Look At Me!'
"this generation of teens has many new tech tools to document & internet for display & distribution...[but] impact of reality TV culture ...goes beyond just documenting to staging and creating an image"
documentation  photography  teens  youth  narcissism  image  identity  memory  culture  society  generations 
march 2008 by robertogreco
/Message: Christine Rosen on Virtual Friendships And The New Narcissism
"It may seem to be less, since it is partial, but the reality is that all friendship is discontinuous, even the realest of meatworld relationships. It is a matter only of scale. And I maintain that it is these tools that will allow us to scale friendship
narcissism  ambientintimacy  continuouspartialfriendship  friendship  online  internet  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  society  relationships  authenticity  teens  networking  networks  web  identity  emotion  culture  community  facebook  myspace  self  technology  privacy  stoweboyd 
october 2007 by robertogreco
The New Atlantis - Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism - Christine Rosen
"Real intimacy requires risk—the risk of disapproval, of heartache, of being thought a fool. Social networking websites may make relationships more reliable, but whether those relationships can be humanly satisfying remains to be seen."
socialnetworking  socialnetworks  society  jaiku  twitter  relationships  ambientintimacy  continuouspartialfriendship  authenticity  teens  networking  networks  online  web  identity  emotion  narcissism  culture  community  facebook  myspace  self  technology  internet  privacy 
october 2007 by robertogreco
apophenia: "Generation Me"
"Twenge does an amazing job at outlining how our schools have become completely useless at educating because it's more important to make students feel good than to be critical of their work."
millennials  generations  books  culture  psychology  self-esteem  reviews  generationme  education  teaching  schools  students  narcissism 
april 2007 by robertogreco
NPR : Study Sees Rise in Narcissism Among Students
"Study psychologists worry the trend, attributable to the influences of schools, media and parents, could be harmful to personal relationships and American society. The study says narcissists are more likely to have short-lived romantic relationships and
narcissism  self-esteem  studies  youth  millennials  psychology  relationships  media  parenting  schools  society  education  teens  children  npr  popculture 
march 2007 by robertogreco
Has Generation Y overdosed on self-esteem? | csmonitor.com
"For some, a new study validates concerns of too much positive reinforcement of the young. Others say it lacks needed nuance."
education  parenting  psychology  children  teens  youth  self-esteem  schools  narcissism  generations  millennials  studies  relationships  media  society 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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