It’s All Downhill in Chechnya, This Time at a Ski Resort - The New York Times
Excellent foreign reporting. Wry and observant. Subtly stylized but well reported. Kramer points up colorful ironies and uses quick turns to expose unsettling juxtapositions.
writing  writer  journalism  history  travel  chechnya  russia 
15 days ago
The Curious Incident in the Bath in the Day-time — Ridgeline issue 014
There are some good walks in the mountains west of Tokyo. And nearby those walks is a bath that is my favorite bath in Japan. Making it my favorite bath in the world. And — to go even further — It is perhaps my favorite building in the world. It is a building that itself becomes a Hori lock. Total simplicity, every piece just right. A building without fault. I cannot tell you the name of this bath, or the building, or even hint at its location with any more precision than I already have. Because it is one of these places that the internet is most adept at slaughtering.

Only the geekiest of bath people know of it. It was shown to me under stipulation that I would only bring to it quiet people who love baths; that nobody tweet or Four Square it. And that the rules alway be upheld. For inside the bath — this holiest of holy soak rooms — nobody speaks. You just nod. Often you don’t even nod because, usually, you’re the only person in the bath.

...
Do you feel what we felt in that moment? The deranged and vibrating energy of being in a small space with the insane?

Oh man, this was supposed to be the sacred place. The quiet place. The happy place. The greatest bath in the world, and a social miscreant destroyed that for us all.
walking  bathing 
27 days ago
Seven Days Walking - Wikipedia
In January 2018, Einaudi frequently went on walks in the Alps, "always following more or less the same trail." He revealed that during the heavy snow, his "thoughts roamed free inside the storm, where all shapes, stripped bare by the cold, lost their contours and colours," allowing him to construct the “musical labyrinth” present on the records.[6] The composer also took a series of polaroid pictures, inspiring him to write seven volumes of music, each portraying a different aspect of his journey.[7] He consequently recorded the albums from September to October that year in Schloss Elmau in Germany, and the Air Studios in London.
walking  music  classical  art  create 
27 days ago
Guantánamo’s Darkest Secret | The New Yorker
Salahi came to think of his interrogators as acting out a Mauritanian folktale in which a blind man is given the gift of a single, fleeting glimpse of the world. “All he saw was a rat,” Salahi wrote. “After that, whenever anybody tried to explain anything to the guy, he always asked, ‘Compare it with the rat: Is it bigger? smaller?’ ”

...

Salahi finally felt as if he was beginning to take back the narrative of his life.
terrorism  history  mideast  religion 
27 days ago
A Wrinkle in Time - Wikipedia
When L'Engle completed the book in early 1960, it was rejected by at least 26 publishers, because it was, in L'Engle's words, "too different," and "because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was really difficult for children, and was it a children's or an adults' book, anyhow?"
writer  publishing  publishfailures 
28 days ago
Why Sam Harris—Not Ezra Klein—Is the One Making Space for People of Colour - Quillette
Although the idea that humans inhabit mutually impenetrable milieus now is associated with avant-garde academics and activists, the left does not have a monopoly on this view. Nativists and far-right extremists—including some of Donald Trump’s most fervent followers—also emphasize the permanence of group difference, albeit with a far more toxic tone.

In her recently published book, Political Tribes, Yale Law School’s Amy Chua argues that people everywhere seek out tribal affiliation. “The great Enlightenment principles of modernity—liberalism, secularism, rationality, equality, free markets,” Chua writes, “do not provide the kind of tribal group identity that human beings crave and have always craved.” If tribal thinking is part of how we’re hardwired as people, as research suggests (to varying degrees), Harris and his allies could be said to be fighting a losing battle—members of the small minority that Brookings Institution’s Shadi Hamid calls “smart people” whose “mix of intelligence and meritocratic sensibility nearly requires them to believe that tribalism isn’t to be managed or harnessed but, rather, overcome.”

Author Robert Wright, who once debated Harris on t
...

The constraining effect of tribalism in public debate was noted by Columbia University’s Mark Lilla in a 2017 New Yorker article. Lilla believes “there’s a kind of essentialism to identity politics, where it means going out into the democratic space, where you’re struggling for power and using identity as an appeal for other people to vote for your side.” The phenomenon can be anti-democratic in its effect, because it enables the most vocal members of an identity group—or those, such as Klein, who claim to be channeling a single viewpoint attributed to that identity group—to speak for others without democratic accountability.

...

Given my theme, careful readers will note that my decision to reference my own identity in these last few paragraphs presents a certain (unavoidable) irony. But then again, I’m not arguing that transcending tribalism means we have to turn a blind eye to the way identity works in our lives. Rather, transcending tribalism means striving for those valuable moments when each of us is “just a human being who is worried about the future talking.” Even if those moments prove elusive, it is the effort to reach them that shows our good faith, and open mind, in engaging with the world around us.
mind  politics  religion  philo  history 
4 weeks ago
Featured Op-Ed: Sam Harris Was Right; Ezra Klein Should Know Better - Capital Research Center
Sam Harris and Ezra Klein’s mutual friend Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece decrying what happened with JournoList: “what’s depressing is the way in which liberal journalists are not responding to events in order to find out the truth, but playing strategic games to cover or not cover events and controversies in order to win a media/political war.”
politics  history  philo 
4 weeks ago
Sam Harris - Wikipedia
Criticism of Abrahamic religions[edit]
Harris states that religion contains bad ideas, calling it "one of the most perverse misuses of intelligence we have ever devised".[25] He compares modern religious beliefs to the myths of the Ancient Greeks, which were once accepted as fact but which are obsolete today. In a January 2007 interview with PBS, Harris said, "We don't have a word for not believing in Zeus, which is to say we are all atheists in respect to Zeus. And we don't have a word for not being an astrologer." He goes on to say that the term atheist will be retired only when "we all just achieve a level of intellectual honesty where we are no longer going to pretend to be certain about things we are not certain about".[26]

Harris advocates a benign, noncoercive, corrective form of intolerance, distinguishing it from historic religious persecution. He promotes a conversational intolerance, in which personal convictions are scaled against evidence, and where intellectual honesty is demanded equally in religious views and non-religious views.[27] He also believes there is a need to counter inhibitions that prevent the open critique of religious ideas, beliefs, and practices under the auspices of "tolerance".[28] He has stated that he has received death threats for some of his views on religion.

Is it really true that the sins for which I hold Islam accountable are "committed at least to an equal extent by many other groups, especially [my] own"? ... The freedom to poke fun at Mormonism is guaranteed [not by the First Amendment but] by the fact that Mormons do not dispatch assassins to silence their critics or summon murderous hordes in response to satire. ... Can any reader of this page imagine the staging of a similar play [to The Book of Mormon] about Islam in the United States, or anywhere else, in the year 2013? ... At this moment in history, there is only one religion that systematically stifles free expression with credible threats of violence. The truth is, we have already lost our First Amendment rights with respect to Islam—and because they brand any observation of this fact a symptom of Islamophobia, Muslim apologists like Greenwald are largely to blame.[35][36]

Glenn Greenwald has claimed that "[Harris] and others like him spout and promote Islamophobia under the guise of rational atheism."[37] Harris has criticized the way the term Islamophobia is commonly used. "My criticism of Islam is a criticism of beliefs and their consequences," he wrote following a disagreement with Ben Affleck in October 2014 on the show Real Time with Bill Maher, "but my fellow liberals reflexively view it as an expression of intolerance toward people." During an email exchange with Greenwald, Harris argued that "Islamophobia is a term of propaganda designed to protect Islam from the forces of secularism by conflating all criticism of it with racism and xenophobia."
biology  science  writer  philo  neuro  socialscience  religion 
4 weeks ago
Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science - Vox
Here is my view: Research shows measurable consequences on IQ and a host of other outcomes from the kind of violence and discrimination America inflicted for centuries against African Americans. In a vicious cycle, the consequences of that violence have pushed forward the underlying attitudes that allow discriminatory policies to flourish and justify the racially unequal world we’ve built.

To put this simply: You cannot discuss this topic without discussing its toxic past and the way that shapes our present.

The conversation between Murray and Harris, one not unique to them, is particularly important right now because it shows how longstanding, deeply harmful tropes are being rehabilitated across the right as a brave stand against political correctness, and as a justification for cutting social programs and giving up on efforts to foster racial equality.

So let’s dive in.

This isn’t “forbidden knowledge.” It’s ancient prejudice.

In his book Stamped From the Beginning, which won the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction, Ibram X. Kendi traces the history of arguments about black inferiority to before the founding of the republic. “Even before Thomas Jefferson and the other founders declared independence, Americans were engaging in a polarizing debate over racial disparities, over why they exist and persist, and over why White Americans as a group were prospering more than Black Americans as a group,” he writes. Those explanations typically revolved around ever more baroque claims of biological difference.

To modern eyes, the arguments that fill Kendi’s pages read as ridiculous, even when they are made by historical figures we now revere. Here, for instance, is David Hume...

Or take Voltaire, an early polygenist — he believed black people were of a different species than whites, a heresy at the time because it seemed to conflict with the story of Adam and Eve:...

These were the arguments that America’s Founding Fathers were following and would ultimately echo. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and claimed to abhor slavery; he condemned interracial relationships for defiling the white race (“Amalgamation with the other color, produces degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent”) while fathering children with Sally Hemings. And of African Americans, he wrote that he could “never ... find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never saw an elementary trait of painting or sculpture.”

Reflect on that. A Founding Father of the country that would produce James Baldwin and Langston Hughes believed African Americans could not produce thoughts more complex than literal narration. And yet Thomas Jefferson was an undeniably brilliant thinker. He believed his assessments were based on fact when, in reality, they were mere bigotry that both emerged from and was used to justify a racist regime.

Curious about race and IQ, incurious about race
Harris and Murray’s conversation stretches more than two hours. A transcript runs to more than 20,000 words. Unless I missed it, at no point in the discussion do Harris or Murray use the words “slave,” “slavery,” or “segregation.” It is curiously ahistorical.

This is not a minor point. Dealing with the reality of racism in the United States is necessary for discussing this topic. In his book Are We Getting Smarter, the famed IQ researcher James Flynn notes that IQs are rising, sharply, across populations and across time. Flynn’s theory for the observed changes — changes that are larger than the entirety of the black-white IQ gap and should not be possible if IQ is genetic or based on environmental factors that cannot be changed — is that the increasing cognitive complexity of the world around us is making us smarter, as if we’re wearing “scientific spectacles”:

Increasingly, people felt it was important to classify concrete reality (in terms the more abstract the better); and to take the hypothetical seriously (which freed logic to deal with not only imagined situations but also symbols that had no concrete referents).

Living in a more cognitively complex world creates more cognitively complex creatures. “If people switch from swimming to weight lifting, the new exercise develops different muscles and the enhanced muscles make them better at the new activity,” Flynn writes. “Everything we know about the brain suggests that it is similar to our muscles.”

Apply this to the American experience. Over hundreds of years, white Americans have oppressed black Americans — enslaved them, physically terrorized them, ripped their families apart, taken their wealth from them, denied their children decent educations, refused to let them buy homes in neighborhoods with good schools, locked them out of the most cognitively demanding and financially rewarding jobs, deprived them of the professional and social networks that power advancement.

Among the many, many awful effects this has had is to deny black Americans the full cognitive advantages of navigating the modern economy, of wearing their scientific spectacles. For this reason, Flynn argues that “the black/white IQ gap is probably environmental in origin.”

In a debate with Flynn, Murray sounded a radically skeptical note, saying of efforts to bridge racial difference, “by the nineteen-seventies, you had gotten most of the juice out of the environment that you were going to get.” It is remarkable to me to that anyone believes racism’s effects on black development had mostly vanished merely a decade after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Note, too, that the black-white IQ gap appears to have closed by about a quarter since 1972.

How to think about the effects of generations of racism on black American achievement is the core of this debate, and it is not well covered in Harris’s podcast. Harris brings up Flynn’s argument in the context of some other research Murray cites, but neither he nor Murray seriously pursues the challenge...

The belief in black deficiency has been instrumental. It was used to justify slavery and to quiet moral qualms over unyielding oppression and violence. In more recent decades, it has been used to explain away the wealth and achievement gaps — if the disparities we see in American life are the result of an intrinsic inferiority on the part of black Americans, then that diminishes the responsibility white Americans have to correct those disparities.

s the real victim of the race and IQ debate Charles Murray?
This brings us to Charles Murray and the strange apportionment of sympathy that underlies this whole conversation — and many conversations about “PC” culture today.

Murray has repeatedly courted racial controversy over the years, and even so, he holds a top position at a respected think tank, gets his books reviewed by the most important outlets, is invited to write op-eds in national newspapers, and remains an important commentator on current events. His career is proof not of how little racial controversy you can provoke before being sanctioned, but of how much racial controversy you can provoke while still succeeding. He has suffered some, but he has also prospered greatly.

But he has, for some in this debate, come to represent the real danger in American life: political correctness.

As I have argued in this piece, I don’t think Murray’s read of this issue is persuasive. But if donning his perspective becomes a form of bravery, if it becomes a way for young white men to rebel against protest culture and prominent pundits to declare independence from groupthink, it will become much more appealing. From my read of the alt-right, it already has.
race  intelligence  psych 
4 weeks ago
The Crazy Origin Story of Couchsurfing with Casey Fenton - FP112
THIS IS UNBELIEVABLY BAD NONSENSICAL FAWNING ASSKISSING COVERAGE OF COUCHSURFING CLAIMING IT AS THE BIRTH OF THE SHARING ECONOMY AS IF AIRBNB AND UBER ARE SHARING ECONOMY!!!!!

Since then, Fenton’s business model has been replicated a thousand times over by the likes of Uber and Airbnb, just to name a few.

If you’re not familiar with this concept, essentially, the little thing called the sharing economy, you know, Uber, Airbnb, and all these other kind of big, big, big startups now…they all run off this economy of people sharing and optimizing…utilizing resources that we all have, and, you know, they’ve been incredibly successful.
couchsurfing  history  sharing  philo 
4 weeks ago
Homer's Odyssey and the Near East - Bruce Louden - Google Books
See pgs 31-33 on Theoxeny for discussions of xenia and the gods in Greek myth as well as Ovid and the Bible.
greek  bible  history  culture 
4 weeks ago
(1) Ashima Shiraishi: A Strong Mind - YouTube
"have a quiet and strong soul (or mind)"?


Highlighted reply
Nick Pearson
7 minutes ago
The way she says it is shizuka de tsuyoi kimochi which would translate to Japanese text as 静かで強い気持ち
japan  climbing  gifts 
4 weeks ago
Iceland is a bitcoin miner's haven, but not everyone is happy | Business & Economy | Al Jazeera
Bitcoin is not creating jobs. Instead, the industry makes irreversible damages on waterfalls and wilderness. I am not willing to make that sacrifice and fortunately a lot of Icelanders agree.
TOMAS GUDBJARTSSON, ENVIRONMENTALIST
iceland  history 
4 weeks ago
True Biblical Hospitality: Loving Immigrants, Strangers, and Enemies | Sojourners
Hospitality in the bible

The Greek term that is often translated into the English term “hospitality” is the word φιλόξενος. The word is a combination of two concepts, that break down as follows:

φιλό (pronounced Philao) is one of several words for “love” in Greek. Being a more precise language than English, classical Greek has a few different ways to express the word “love.” In this case, the word that is used means “brotherly love” or “to love like a brother,” and is how we get the name Philadelphia — the City of Brotherly Love.

The word ξενος (Xenos) which makes up the second half of the word we render “hospitality” actually means “stranger” or “immigrant,” and is where we get the word xenophobia which is the fear of strangers/immigrants.
greek  history  philo 
4 weeks ago
Genesis 19 NIV - Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed - The two - Bible Gateway
Parallel between the bible and the sagas:

Lot and His Daughters
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab[g]; he is the father of the Moabites of tod
bible  sagas 
4 weeks ago
Ray Dalio: Capitalism's Income Inequality Is National Emergency - Bloomberg
The Republican idea that cutting taxes on the rich promotes productivity “doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” and the wealthy must pay more, Dalio said. “The important thing is to take those tax dollars and make them productive,” he added.

Dalio Philanthropies and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, announced a partnership on April 5 to improve public education and economic opportunity, with $100 million from the state matched by $100 million from Dalio plus $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.

Thanks to Bridgewater’s asset base and investing success over time, Dalio has a fortune that the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates at $16.9 billion.

“It doesn’t need to be abandoned,” Dalio said of capitalism on CBS. “Like a car, like anything, a plane, a school system, anything, it needs to be reformed in order to work better.”
economics  history  inequality 
5 weeks ago
Why it's still difficult for women to travel world
Not all queries are malicious or overbearing, but public space is the arena of men, whether in Tehran or in Brooklyn. Women can’t move freely, without being subject to stares, comments, questions, catcalls, solicitations, threats. Everywhere, they are seen.

This policing of space is inseparable from the policing of female bodies.

Talking to Priyanka, I was reminded of the writing of Jamaica Kincaid, Kathy Acker, Noelle Chatelet, of the art of Carolee Schneemann—work in which women’s bodies are on display in all their messiness, ugliness, and viscerality. But what about being part of the landscape? Priyanka said: “Think of a landscape that has been trampled on, that’s what women’s bodies are.”

as Solnit observes, gender-based oppression is arguably vaster than the more localized oppression based on race, class, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, having been integral to gender identity for millennia in most of the world. “Those who have been unable to walk out as far as their feet would take them have been denied not merely exercise or recreation but a vast portion of their humanity,” Solnit writes.

All the women I spoke with are successful, capable, and benefit from their own various privileges. They know themselves. And yet, most told me that they weren’t sure they could do their walk with Paul until after they’d done it.

Countless other women in history have, like Bly, walked (or sailed, or flown) ahead: Sacagawea, who guided Lewis and Clark through the Louisiana Territory; Ida Pfeiffer, who circled the world twice (and yet was denied membership to London’s Royal Geographical Society); Eliza Scidmore, a writer and photographer who joined the National Geographic Society in 1890 because her "daydreams were always of other countries"; Freya Stark, who wrote more than two dozen books on her expeditions in the Middle East; the Qing Dynasty pirate Ching Shih, who commanded the largest crew in history; Gertrude Bell, who through her desert treks in the Middle East and trust building with tribal chiefs wielded the most political power of any woman in the British Empire. Add to them the ancient women who walked out of Africa, who crossed the Bering Strait, who sailed to the unseen, unknown islands of the remote Pacific.
gender  inequality  travel  walking 
5 weeks ago
Adventurous. Alone. Attacked. - The New York Times
For Cassie DePecol, 29, who holds the Guinness World Record for “the fastest time to visit all sovereign countries,” traveling alone means having a long list of precautions. The Connecticut-born activist practices Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense technique. She carries a GPS tracker. She makes sure someone knows where she is at all times.

“Some of these might sound extreme,” she said. “But I attribute having safely traveled to 196 countries alone to these specific procedures.”

Ms. DePecol says that gender-based violence is an unfortunate reality for women who travel.

“The awareness of needing to always watch our backs when we’re both alone and in public places is something that men don’t necessarily need to be aware of,” she said.

From her perspective, there are no dangerous countries, just dangerous people.

“It sucks, but you can’t control the world,” she said, adding, “But you also have to go out and live your life and not let these terrible stories stop you.

“Because otherwise, you let them win.”
walking  travel 
5 weeks ago
Rapey plate - Imgur
AWAD response 4-7-19: This week’s theme reminds me of a heart-shaped poster my older sister had hanging in her room as a teenager in the 70s:
Oh! Please do not kiss me
Oh! Please do not kiss
Oh! Please do not
Oh! Please do
Oh! Please
Oh!
In light of today’s #MeToo action this may not be exactly politically correct but at the time it was only charming.
sex  sexualviolence 
5 weeks ago
Anne Helen: Our generation's suburbanization will look like mid-size city migration
“Mid-size” is an elastic term here: it applies to places like Missoula, where I live (population ~120k), but also to Boise, Idaho (~225k), Waco, Texas (~140k), Des Moines, IA (~220k), Salt Lake City (~200k), Albuquerque, NM (~560k), Chattanooga, TN (~180k)and Savannah, GA (~145k).

Slightly smaller cities that used to provide a haven for creatives without corporate paychecks (Austin, Portland, Asheville, Nashville, Los Angeles) rose as well. Even if millennials could make ends meet in one of these places, it was incredibly difficult to buy a house — at least not in the urban core that drew you to the city in the first place. Affordable real estate was in the suburbs, a monster commute away, in traffic or broken subway systems that only continued to get worse. At the same time, many of the jobs that drew people to the city were becoming, or had the potential to become, “remote” — do-able from pretty much anywhere with a solid internet connection.

There’s so many ways you can be part of a community without displacing or demolishing what made you want to move to it in the first place. But it’s such a fine line. A vibrant downtown, every store front filled, new and excited energy — few people would say they don’t want that for their town. But there’s a way to do it that doesn’t simply map (white, bourgeois, urban) understandings of cool onto a place that, whether you knew it or not, has always had its own version of a cool — even if it’s been dormant for decades.
demography  culture  history  mil 
5 weeks ago
The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs | The New Yorker
The Provigil made it hard for Laura to sleep, so her pharmacologist prescribed Ambien, which she took every night. In the course of a year, her doctors had created what’s known as “a prescription cascade”: the side effects of one medication are diagnosed as symptoms of another condition, leading to a succession of new prescriptions. Her energy levels rose and fell so quickly that she was told she had a version of bipolar disorder called “rapid cycling,” a term that describes people who have four or more manic episodes in a year, but is also applied, more loosely, to people who shift dramatically between moods.

She experienced what John Teasdale, a research psychologist at the University of Oxford, named “depression about depression.” She interpreted each moment of lethargy or disappointment as the start of a black mood that would never end. Psychiatric diagnoses can ensnare people in circular explanations: they are depressed because they are depressed.

For a brief period, Laura saw a psychiatrist who was also a psychoanalyst, and he questioned the way that she’d framed her illness. He doubted her early bipolar diagnosis, writing that “many depressions are given a ‘medical’ name by a psychiatrist, ascribing the problem to ‘chemistry’ and neglecting the context and specificity of why someone is having those particular life problems at that particular time.” He reminded her, “You described hating becoming a woman.” Laura decided that “he wasn’t legit.” She stopped going to her appointments.

Laura found a psychiatrist she admired, whom I’ll call Dr. Roth. At appointments, Laura would enter a mode in which she could recount her psychic conflicts in a cool, clinical tone, taking pride in her psychiatric literacy. She saw her drugs as precision instruments that could eliminate her suffering, as soon as she and Dr. Roth found the right combination. “I medicated myself as though I were a finely calibrated machine, the most delicate error potentially throwing me off,” she later wrote. If she had coffee with someone and became too excited and talkative, she thought, Oh, my God, I might be hypomanic right now. If she woke up with racing thoughts, she thought, My symptoms of anxiety are ramping up. I should watch out for this. If they last more than a day or two, Dr. Roth may have to increase my meds.

Another doctor noted that she did not seem to meet the criteria for major depression, despite her attempted suicide. The doctor proposed that she had borderline personality disorder, a condition marked by unstable relationships and self-image and a chronic sense of emptiness. According to her medical records, Laura agreed. “Maybe I’m borderline,” she said.

“It is tempting to add a second drug just for the sake of ‘doing something,’ ” a 2004 paper in Current Medicinal Chemistry warns.

An editorial in Lancet Psychiatry this year proposed that “borderline personality disorder is not so much a diagnosis as it is a liminal state.”

The meetings lacked the self-absorption, the constant turning inward, that she felt at the clinic, where she attended therapy every day. When Laura’s pharmacologist prescribed her Naltrexone—a drug that is supposed to block the craving for alcohol—Laura was insulted. If she were to quit drinking, she wanted to feel that she had done it on her own. She was already taking Effexor (an antidepressant), Lamictal, Seroquel, Abilify, Ativan, lithium, and Synthroid, a medication to treat hypothyroidism, a side effect of lithium. The medications made her so sedated that she sometimes slept fourteen hours a night. When she slept through a therapy appointment, her therapist called the police to check on her at her aunt’s house. “That really jolted something in me,” Laura said.

In May, 2010, a few months after entering the borderline clinic, she wandered into a bookstore, though she rarely read anymore. On the table of new releases was “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” by Robert Whitaker, whose cover had a drawing of a person’s head labelled with the names of several medications that she’d taken. The book tries to make sense of the fact that, as psychopharmacology has become more sophisticated and accessible, the number of Americans disabled by mental illness has risen. Whitaker argues that psychiatric medications, taken in heavy doses over the course of a lifetime, may be turning some episodic disorders into chronic disabilities. (The book has been praised for presenting a hypothesis of potential importance, and criticized for overstating evidence and adopting a crusading tone.)

“They’d been prescribed one drug, and then a second, and a third, and they are put on this other trajectory where their self-identity changes from being normal to abnormal—they are told that, basically, there is something wrong with their brain, and it isn’t temporary—and it changes their sense of resilience and the way they present themselves to others.”

A few months earlier, one doctor had written on a prescription pad, “Practice Self-Compassion,” and for the number of refills he’d written, “Infinite.”

It took Laura five months to withdraw from five drugs, a process that coincided with a burgeoning doubt about a diagnosis that had become a kind of career.
psych 
6 weeks ago
Dalio Sounds New Alarm on Capitalist Flaws, Warns of Revolution - Bloomberg
The solution, he argues, lies in better leadership at the “top of the country;” treating the wealth and income gap as a national emergency; a bipartisan commission to re-engineer the economic system; more accountability, presumably for elected officials; minimum standards for health care and education; some redistributive taxes on the wealthy; and more coordination of monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate growth.
economics  history  polisci  policy 
6 weeks ago
Women travelers on why they go solo: 'I never thought that I couldn't'
Teddy Anderson, of Salt Lake City, Utah, traveled extensively from age 20 to 35, all on a low budget. She said that she felt like she was missing out on a lot of things that male travelers got to do, that was something that struck her constantly. “The men who I was meeting [while] traveling were having double the experiences I was having. They were having nightlife, they would go out and have drinks with locals that they had met and they would go on treks into the jungle with local people, and that entire part of traveling was off-limits to me.”

“Post-#MeToo or pre-#MeToo, it doesn't matter how it's possible that we still have to be talking about these subjects," Sparks said. "How it's possible a woman could be in danger just for choosing to walk down the street daytime or nighttime by herself.”
travel  walking  history 
6 weeks ago
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