3 years ago I stopped using the word “should” in my own speech, with the goal of eliminating it in my own thoughts.

It was tough, but I saw compelling benefits: I became happier, I found it reduced judgmental thoughts, anger and frustration towards others, and it also helped me to better distinguish between true needs, wants and desires, and “vague senses of obligation” that came from societal pressure or cultural baggage, but that I didn’t want to act on.

Let me know if you gain any insights from this video (it’s under 5 min)!

The Freudian Coverup - Adding Sources to Circulating Ideas

“In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood [sexual] victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest.<br />
Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology… Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for… This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men.”

― Lundy Bancroft

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read this carve it into your brains permanently etch it into your skulls r e a d  t h i s

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:-/

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attn @cazort

(via therealrosewitch)

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  I tracked down the source of this, it’s from the book “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft.  The book itself isn’t really about Freud, it’s about the psychology of men who act in abusive and controlling ways in relationships.  I read the relevant section in the book and it didn’t cite a source for this fact.

But I did some more digging, and it seems that the book is referencing a well-known theory called the Freudian Coverup, a theory that I think was first described in the journal Feminism & Psychology, May 1996 6: pp. 260-276, a source that’s unfortunately not public access.

Based on what I know about psychology, sexual assault and abuse in society (it is a lot more prevalent than people used to think), and Freud’s theories (they’ve mostly been debunked and are now viewed by most people as completely made up, many are so subjective that they can’t really be subjected to rigorous scientific study), this theory seems really plausible to me.

I’d be a little uncomfortable with just putting it forth as absolute fact though, because it’s controversial, and I don’t see a consensus on it, and I haven’t read the original article on it, so I don’t have a sense of how compelling it is.  I also found there was a follow-up article published in the same journal, that I also couldn’t read, but that seemed to dispute some points or quibble with it, so I don’t know if it still supports the same things.

I think it’s important to be cautious about sourcing your facts—which is why I am sharing the sources behind this idea.  Don’t just reblog or pass on an idea without checking sources and facts.  This one seems to check out, but now I’m including sources so people can see that this isn’t just made up, but based on scholarship published in peer-reviewed journals.  This doesn’t guarantee it’s true, but it’s certainly not just a random made-up fact floating around the internet.

(Source: womensliberationfront)

michaeljazul:

if all people just learn how to appreciate simple things in life, the world would be a better place.. #sunset #warmth #norristown #septa #nhsl #skyporn

The Norristown High Speed Line is awesome!

michaeljazul:

if all people just learn how to appreciate simple things in life, the world would be a better place.. #sunset #warmth #norristown #septa #nhsl #skyporn

The Norristown High Speed Line is awesome!

I imagine the bridge at the end of the Norristown High Speed Line as the bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard.  It&#8217;ll always be that in my mind.
So my girlfriend makes me this for my birthday.

I imagine the bridge at the end of the Norristown High Speed Line as the bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard.  It’ll always be that in my mind.

So my girlfriend makes me this for my birthday.

A Confession

I really love doing that thing that rabbits do where you grab a long leafy stem in your teeth and munch on it until you’ve eaten the whole thing.

Here I explain how teachers, parents, and other authority figures may be inadvertently teaching them an idea that may predispose them to depression and anxiety disorders, in how they talk about homework, and how they reason about the relationship between small events, and larger, long-term life outcomes.

This video generated the most controversy of any of my videos so far!!!  I also have published a follow-up video which addresses the criticisms I’ve received, that in this video I am “blaming teachers for my depression”.  That’s not my intention.

I merely want to help people to identify this unhealthy thinking pattern, so they’re not inadvertently passing it on to kids.  I’d like us to learn to recognize this bad way of thinking, so we can filter it out of our society.

Anonymous asked
Do you have a "dream" career? If so, are you currently doing anything to work towards it, or do you consider your dream too far-fetched right now? // Do you have a "dream" future? If you are willing, describe a day in your ideal "happily ever after" life.

Yes and no.  I think of my “dream” career as being pretty open-ended, that is, it’s not a specific sort of task that I’d have, but rather, things about what I’d ideally like my work environment to be like.

My dream career would be focused on ideas, solving problems in society, and building a consensus around them.  My time would be divided between discussing things with people, reading and researching things (I’d especially love to be reading a lot of books, not just reading things online), and thinking.  I’d like to have a circle of friends and advisors that I work with closely, but also come into contact with an extremely broad range of people.  I’d like to spend most of my time close to home, but periodically travel to get exposure to new people, places, and culture.

I’d love to be someone who is consulted by political leaders, religious leaders, and even celebrities, but kind of behind-the-scenes.  I would ideally like to have the sort of influence that comes with being famous, without myself being in the spotlight—I want to see results, rather than getting credit for it, and I also want to avoid the negative things that come with fame.

I don’t think this dream is too far-fetched.  Two and a half years ago, I got together with some friends and we founded Why This Way, which is an organization that actually allows not only me, but anyone who wants to get involved in this sort of thing, to play this role to a degree.  But more importantly, it also seems to hold the potential to transform society in various ways.

My ideal future involves much more than my career or material circumstances.  I want to live in a society very different from the one we live in.  It would be much more slow-paced than the east-coast culture I live in now.  People wouldn’t be constantly trying to get ahead.  It would be much less consumerist; people would focus on wise resource management, not buying things they don’t need.

Cars would be much less prominent; I’d be able to walk, bike, and take trains everywhere…things would be laid out much more like a college campus.  I’d be part of a city, a society, in which most people worked much less than full time, and had a lot of leisure time and hobbies.  The society would be very intellectual, very quirky, and egalitarian.  There wouldn’t be much in the way of social status.

It would be a much happier, more respectful society.  People would think more rationally.  People would be more optimistic in how they thought about political systems and social change, and this would be reflected in a transformation of the political and governmental structures.  Things like the two party system, the current economic and tax system in the U.S., would be viewed as a thing of the past, a sort of “dark ages” so to speak.

Society would also be more spiritual, and spirituality would be in harmony with science and rational discourse.  Organized religion would be flexible, open-minded, and guided by reason and logic, but still mysterious and complex, and atheism and agnosticism would coexist with monotheistic religions as well as polytheistic religions.  People would not pressure each other to convert to specific views, or pressure their children to participate in the faith they were raised in, and many people would actively engage in a range of different faith communities.

People would have worked to reconstruct the cultures of the indigenous people that have been displaced from most of North America.  The U.S. would be linguistically and culturally even more diverse than it is now.  This would be reflected in the culture of food, music, and the landscape of ideas out there.

And our society would be environmentally sustainable.  We would have worked to restore the ecosystems around us to a healthier state…and much of the land in the world would be wild ecosystems agains.  Humans would no longer be threatening biodiversity, but would be promoting and protecting it.

This is my dream.

Larva of a monarch butterfly, on common milkweed in my garden.  So cute&#8230;and will turn into a really beautiful butterfly.
"If you built it, they will come." &#8212; Plant native plants and native insects will show up.  Monarch butterflies are near-threatened because of habitat loss (in large part due to herbicide-heavy agriculture in the midwest), so planting milkweeds in your garden can be a really valuable way to protect this species.
Milkweeds also support other insects, including aphids and milkweed bugs, which eat the seeds.

Larva of a monarch butterfly, on common milkweed in my garden.  So cute…and will turn into a really beautiful butterfly.

"If you built it, they will come." — Plant native plants and native insects will show up.  Monarch butterflies are near-threatened because of habitat loss (in large part due to herbicide-heavy agriculture in the midwest), so planting milkweeds in your garden can be a really valuable way to protect this species.

Milkweeds also support other insects, including aphids and milkweed bugs, which eat the seeds.

If You’re Going To Operate A Leaf Blower

If you’re going to operate a leaf blower in my neighborhood, let me operate a super soaker in the same vicinity.  I promise it’ll be quieter and will disturb no more than one person.

Anonymous asked
I strongly believe medication has its place in treating depression. I don't think it's a panacea by any means; I see it a metaphorical life jacket of sorts-- something to keep one's head above the emotional waters long enough to allow development of solid coping skills through therapy (after which the medication can hopefully be discontinued). I agree it can be dangerous to push it as the best/only option, but I think it's equally dangerous to push in the other direction when lives are at stake.

Thanks for writing!  I think I agree with your main point that medication has a place in treating depression.  I think the use of medication that you describe, seems to make sense than other, more long-term uses.

I still remain skeptical of it though, for two reasons.  One of the reasons is that I’ve seen significant evidence that taking medication can increase the risk of suicide.  The heart of what you’re saying, lives being at stake, is a major factor in why I’m skeptical of medication—I’m not convinced they save lives.  I’m not convinced they don’t either…I just think it’s a topic that is has a lot of uncertainty.

The other reason is publication bias (drug trials without strong results tend not to get published), which has been studied a lot lately (thankfully).  I am aware that there’s a pretty wide consensus in the medical establishment that, while people are taking them (and after the first 6 weeks or so of use), antidepressants have a positive effect, greater than placebo.  I’m not 100% sure that I buy this though—due to concerns of publication bias, and the huge profit motive behind the pharmaceutical industry.  I am aware that I have my own personal bias against medication—I’ve seen some people close to me have terrible things happen to them, after being pressured to go on medications by doctors, and I tend to have a visceral negative reaction to the idea of medication…which is my own hangup due to my own life experiences, and which I’m aware I sometimes take too far.

There are some meta-analyses which attempt to account for publication bias, see this one, for example.  That one concludes:

compared with placebo, the new-generation antidepressants do not produce clinically significant improvements in depression in patients who initially have moderate or even very severe depression, but show significant effects only in the most severely depressed patients

This would seem to support that antidepressants might be a good choice for people who are severely depressed, especially for whom nothing else seems to work.  But interestingly, they also write:

The findings also show that the effect for these patients seems to be due to decreased responsiveness to placebo, rather than increased responsiveness to medication

This is some food for thought…what’s really going on here?  I don’t know.  I’m willing to consider it a “black box”…and say, hey, if the medication works for a particular person then that’s great and run with it.  I just don’t want therapists pushing drugs on me (or others) as the first choice, because they have been duped by the pharmaceutical industry into believing that the drugs work more effectively than the science actually suggests.