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robertogreco : sadness   21

avoiding the high-brow freak show | sara hendren
"Oliver Sacks is probably the only author many people have read about disability at length. Sacks wrote many books with such a keen eye for description and also a literate, humanitarian lens—he was able to link together ideas in natural history, the sciences, and the humanities with sincerity and warmth, and always with people at the center. But which people? The subjects of the book, or the reader who is “reading” herself, her own experiences, as she takes in these stories? In any good book, many characters are involved: author, characters, reader. But there’s some particular tricky territory in disability narratives.

It’s challenging to write about this subject for a mainstream audience, perhaps because there are so many well-rehearsed pitfall tropes in characterizing bodily and developmental differences. Descriptions of physicality, speech, or idiosyncratic movement can slide so easily into spectacle. And revealing the ways that disabled people* cope, make sense, and create joy and humor in their lives can collapse into inspiration, easily won.

I’m thinking about Sacks as I write my own words, interpreting my own many encounters with disabled people in a way that both engages readers for whom the subject is ostensibly new, and that also does justice to the integrity and singularity of those people involved. I’m trying to write about disability and its reach into the wider human experience, that is, without making individual people into metaphors. Now: those ideas might be laudable—interdependent life, a critique of individualism, all bodies and lived experiences as endless variation, necessarily incomplete in their own ways—but they are ideas nonetheless. How to make this tradeoff? How to help the uninitiated reader by saying See, see here, your life is caught up in these stakes too, but without flattening the individual subjects on whom those ideas are based?

I keep circling around this review in the LRB of Sacks’s An Anthropologist on Mars and The Island of the Colorblind—analysis of which includes his book Awakenings and could also be applied to The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. Jenny Diski admires Sacks’s projects and his craft, but she also has this to say:
“A story needs a conclusion whereas a case-history may not have one. In fact, stories have all kinds of needs that a case-history will not supply, and Sacks is insistent that he is writing the stories of his patients, not their cases. This is not intended to fudge fact and fiction, but to enlarge patients into people.

On the other hand, he is describing people with more or less devastating illnesses— that is his raison d’être—and his explicit purpose is to generalize from these, usually unhappy, accidents of life and nature, to a greater understanding of the human condition. In Awakenings he states: ‘If we seek a “curt epitome” of the human condition—of long-standing sickness, suffering and sadness; of a sudden, complete, almost preternatural “awakening”; and, alas! of entanglements which may follow this “cure”—there is no better one than the story of these patients.’

He is offering life, death and the whole damn thing in the metaphor of his patients. And it is true that these patients and others show us what it is like, as he says, ‘to be human and stay human in the face of adversity’. But metaphors are not in fact descriptions of people in their totality. They are intentional, and consciously or unconsciously edited tropes, not complete, contained narratives.

I don’t know any kind of narrative, fictional or otherwise, that can present people in their totality, so perhaps it doesn’t matter, but Sacks is offering us people because of their sickness and the manner of their handling it. This is hardly an overturning of the medicalizing tendency of doctors. And when we read these stories, as we do, to tell us more about ourselves, we read them as exaggerations of what we are, as metaphors for what we are capable of. Their subjects may not be patients as freaks, but they are patients as emblems. They are, as it were, for our use and our wonderment. Around their illness, the thoughts of Leibniz, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Proust are hoisted like scaffolding, as if to stiffen their reality into meaning.”

Stiffening their reality into meaning! It’s a cutting and exact criticism, especially when it seems that Sacks was utterly sincere in his search for human and humane connection—with these patients as clinical subjects and in his engagement with readers.

Diski hints at the pushback Sacks got from scholars in disability studies, too; scholar Tom Shakespeare took a swipe at him as “the man who mistook his patients for a career,” calling his body of work a “high-brow freak show.” And when I re-read Sacks’s New Yorker essay, excerpted from the Anthropologist book, on autistic self-advocate Temple Grandin, I see a little bit what Shakespeare meant. There is something of the microscope being employed in that encounter, and somehow we walk away fascinated but maybe less than conjoined to Grandin’s experience. It’s rich with connection and with pathos (in a good way!), but there’s distance in it too. So—it’s not perfect.

And yet: people read and loved that book, saw themselves in it. And Grandin went on to write several books in her own voice, to have a wide audience for her work and wisdom. The visibility of autistic self-advocacy has been greatly amplified since Sacks’s writing about it. (And yet—also—Diski says that Sacks has a way of making meaning out of disability that’s essentially a wonder at the human body via its ailments, as in “My God, we are extraordinary, look how interestingly wrong we can go.”) Is there a way to affirm the extraordinary without ending at: there but for the grace of god…? Without ending with gratitude that we don’t share someone’s plight? I want readers to come away uncertain: about where there’s joy and where there’s pain, about how they might make different choices, ordinary and extraordinary choices, if handed a different set of capacities in themselves or in their loved ones.

But can a writer really calibrate that level of nuance? Lately I’m thinking that I can only write what I can write, knowing that it will be incomplete and partial in its rendering.

I want a world full of disabled voices, people telling their stories in their own ways, with their own voices intact. But I also want a world of people to read about the collective stakes inherent in disability—and not just the rights issues that are being ignored, urgent as they are. I want people to see that spending time thinking about disability is an invitation to see the world differently, and to locate one’s own experiences differently. Not to erase the particularity of any one person’s very material experiences, but to help remedy the invisibility of disabled experience outside the inner circle of people who talk to one another, who know that these issues are important. And some audiences will need some interpretation, some cognitive-linguistic bridges to understand the import of disability—its wonder, its overlooked importance, and yes, even its lessons, if we may call them such. Lessons without moralizing, lessons without abstractions.

*Yes, “disabled people,” not “differently abled” or even always “people with disabilities.” There’s no one right answer or moniker, but soon I’ll write a short piece on why “disabled people” is a preferred term among many activists."

[See also this response from Alan Jacobs: http://blog.ayjay.org/writing-by-the-always-wrong/ ]
sarahendren  oliversacks  disability  2017  diversity  morality  moralizing  difference  humanism  individualism  interdependence  variation  jennydiski  conclusions  case-histories  sickness  sadness  suffering  life  death  storytelling  narrative  tomshakespeare  templegrandin  pathos  correction  autism  self-advocacy  meaning  meaningmaking  uncertainty  joy  pain  grace  writing  howewrite  voice  invisibility  visibility  erasure  experience  alanjacobs  disabilities 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — Morris Berman, Why America Failed: The Roots of...
"Picked this up off a tip from @mattthomas​ — it’s a “post-mortem” of our nation, the third in a trilogy about the Decline of the American Empire (part one is The Twilight of American Culture, which I’m reading now, and part two is Dark Ages America). It’s a bleak portrait, one which I’m not sure a lot of people want to read about around the holidays, but for some perverse reason, I found it very enjoyable and oddly comforting — in the first book, Berman says “I’ll do my best not to entertain you,” but he fails.

The big idea here is that the dominate mode of America is a kind of “technohustling”—America is a “hustling” culture (“American English contains more than two hundred nouns and verbs referring to a swindle”) that believes in endless technological progress (“technology is not neutral”) and it’s left us with a hollowed-out nation —economically, spiritually, emotionally — in which a few have much and many have very little.

Berman points to a long “anti-hustler” tradition of people such as the Transcendentalists, Herman Melville (he sees Moby-Dick as maybe the greatest book about America), and Lewis Mumford, that culminates with Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech he delivered in 1979, which Berman regards as the tradition’s “last stand.” Here’s Carter:
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.

Berman sees very little that the individual can do to escape the “American Nightmare,” other than flee (he went to Mexico) or pursue what he calls the “monastic option” (which he explores in detail in the first book): “resisting the dominant culture and trying to do something meaningful with your life as opposed to living the mass dream.”

Made up a good reading list of books I’ve wanted to check out for a while:

• Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
• A General Theory of Love
• Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
• E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered
• Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization"

[See also: "How America's 'Culture of Hustling' Is Dark and Empty: Results-obsessed perspectives overlook meaning — and leave little room for creativity, pleasure, or accepting the importance of sadness."
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/how-americas-culture-of-hustling-is-dark-and-empty/278601/ ]
morrisberman  consumerism  jimmycarter  austinkleon  2016  2014  toread  hustle  hustling  hermanmelville  moby-dick  transcendentalism  us  culture  society  self-indulgence  consumption  materialism  technohustling  monasticism  cv  efschumacher  leismumford  barbaraehrenreich  toqueville  meaning  meaningmaking  sadness  emptiness  results  creativity  pleasure  leisurearts  artleisure  mobydick 
december 2016 by robertogreco
When and Why We Cry In Films - YouTube
"We might assume that the moment we cry in films is when something very sad or troubling is occurring. But the truth is rather stranger. We often break down is when things are particularly lovely."
grace  innocence  loveliness  goodness  crying  human  humans  aging  schooloflife  film  emotions  sadness  happiness 
july 2016 by robertogreco
23 New Words for Emotions That We All Feel, but Can't Explain
"Sonder:
(n) The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own

Opia:
(n) The ambiguous intensity of Looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable
Read: Wondering where you feel emotions in your body? These heat maps will shed light on the subject

Monachopsis:
(n) The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Énouement:
(n) The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

Vellichor:
(n) The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.

Rubatosis:
(n) The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

Kenopsia:
(n) The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.

Mauerbauertraurigkeit:
(n) The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.

Jouska:
(n) A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
Read: Worry and anxiety linked to high IQ?

Chrysalism:
(n) the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

Vemödalen:
(n) The frustration of photographic something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.

Anecdoche:
(n) A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening

Ellipsism:
(n) A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

Kuebiko
(n) A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.

Lachesism:
The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.

Exulansis:
(n) The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Adronitis:
(n) Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.

Rückkehrunruhe:
(n) The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.
Read: Does The Sound Of Chewing Bother You? You May Be A Creative Genius!

Nodus Tollens
(n) The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

Onism
(n) The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.

Liberosis:
(n) The desire to care less about things.

Altschmerz:
(n) Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.

Occhiolism:
(n) The awareness of the smallness of your perspective."
words  emotions  dictionaryofobscuresorrows  sonder  2015  language  feelings  sadness  frustration  weariness  smallness  exhaustion  anxiety 
january 2016 by robertogreco
the inattention game - bookforum.com / current issue
The bigger problem with The World Beyond Your Head is that of an author trying to wring a social theory from a set of personal grievances, no matter how accurately he perceives what Marilynne Robinson called “the sadness so many of us feel at the heart of contemporary society.”

The Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord’s work of anticapitalist critical theory that influenced the strikes and protests of May 1968, made many of the same arguments that Crawford does. In fact, the first sentence of Spectacle is like a summary of The World Beyond Your Head: “In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”

Debord’s complaints about France were made in the service of a Marxist vision of social reorganization. Absent such a philosophical basis (which obviously need not be Marxism), Crawford’s disgust with representations becomes something much less generous, a disgust for the people who need representations most. It is often this way with elegies for attention to the physical world. The writers who demand that everyone live in the “real” are usually those who are already comfortable there. Consider the example of the woman who’s buried in her iPhone while she walks, and won’t make eye contact with Crawford. “A public space where people are not self-enclosed . . . may feel rich with possibility for spontaneous encounters,” he writes; such a situation “gives rise to a train of imaginings, often erotic.” This is dead accurate to certain moments in a straight man’s afternoon in the city. But a person could also be forgiven for seeking the reassurance of a phone when feeling overexposed on the street.

The beam of contempt is even more visible when it focuses on the slot players, who, despite Crawford’s wish to make them exemplary of the “autistic” strain of modern life, are more likely—visit any casino—to be old people without a ton of money, unluckily susceptible to a certain kind of addiction, exploited by a sophisticated technology. Even Crawford’s basic premise that “representations” are undesirable begins to buckle under scrutiny. An odd teenager in an uncomprehending suburb using Tumblr to find peers who don’t deride her seems unlikely to agree that the problem with America is the prevalence of images.

Reality can be the site of surreal amounts of cruelty, and to mock those who seek refuge from it can be a way of excusing oneself from the labor of improving it. Not everyone accepts the supremacy of the tangible. It’s indisputable that many people prefer screens to the company of humans, but it’s less clear that all of them do so for reasons of passivity and narcissism. The autistic come to mind as examples. Close attention to the social world reveals, in this way, its unlikeness to a starter motor or a short circuit—most problems don’t have universally self-evident solutions.

In the parable of the game preserve, Cheetos fell out of the sky and the lions got complacent and stopped hunting. It’s an offense to the hunter’s aesthetics. But from a zebra’s perspective? Let it rain."
jessebaron  matthewcrawford  2015  attention  physical  digital  guydebord  marilynnerobinson  sadness  society 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Mono no aware - Wikipedia
“Mono no aware (物の哀れ?), literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō?), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life. “Mono-no aware: the ephemeral nature of beauty – the quietly elated, bittersweet feeling of having been witness to the dazzling circus of life – knowing that none of it can last. It’s basically about being both saddened and appreciative of transience – and also about the relationship between life and death. In Japan, there are four very distinct seasons, and you really become aware of life and mortality and transience. You become aware of how significant those moments are.””
via:caseygollan  japanese  culture  language  ephemeral  ephemerality  impermanence  mononoaware  sadness  wistfulness  life  japan  words  transience  things  beauty  mortality  death 
october 2014 by robertogreco
miscellany - "The more we persist in misunderstanding the...
"
The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life…the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity, and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.


—Thomas Merton, from New Seeds of Contemplation

Dear Self: so yeah, today’s a birthday. You’re doing the smart thing, paying down on the sleep debt you’ve accrued for the past week or so (20 hours of shut-eye over six nights? Seriously?), reflecting on the time that’s passed since the last time you were here, thinking on how you might invest the next 365 days. Time to remember all the steps you take towards your better self. Today’s theme is rededication. But don’t spend all afternoon. The sun’s shining, and the skies are blue— invitation to get outside and soak it all in. Or, as Merton says, join the general dance."
thomasmerton  contemplation  life  living  purpose  focus  mindfulness  presence  sadness  absurdity  despair 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Body Atlas Reveals Where We Feel Happiness and Shame - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com
"Chests puffing up with pride — and happiness felt head to toe — are sensations as real as they are universal. And now we can make an atlas of them.

Researchers have long known that emotions are connected to a range of physiological changes, from nervous job candidates’ sweaty palms to the racing pulse that results from hearing a strange noise at night. But new research reveals that emotional states are universally associated with certain bodily sensations, regardless of individuals’ culture or language.

Once More With Feeling

More than 700 participants in Finland, Sweden and Taiwan participated in experiments aimed at mapping their bodily sensations in connection with specific emotions. Participants viewed emotion-laden words, videos, facial expressions and stories. They then self-reported areas of their bodies that felt different than before they’d viewed the material. By coloring in two computer-generated silhouettes — one to note areas of increased bodily sensation and the second to mark areas of decreased sensation — participants were able to provide researchers with a broad base of data showing both positive and negative bodily responses to different emotions.

Researchers found statistically discrete areas for each emotion tested, such as happiness, contempt and love, that were consistent regardless of respondents’ nationality. Afterward, researchers applied controls to reduce the risk that participants may have been biased by sensation-specific phrases common to many languages (such as the English “cold feet” as a metaphor for fear, reluctance or hesitation). The results are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hot-Headed

Although each emotion produced a specific map of bodily sensation, researchers did identify some areas of overlap. Basic emotions, such as anger and fear, caused an increase in sensation in the upper chest area, likely corresponding to increases in pulse and respiration rate. Happiness was the only emotion tested that increased sensation all over the body.

The findings enhance researchers’ understanding of how we process emotions. Despite differences in culture and language, it appears our physical experience of feelings is remarkably consistent across different populations. The researchers believe that further development of these bodily sensation maps may one day result in a new way of identifying and treating emotional disorders."
2013  psychology  science  physiology  emotions  shame  happiness  love  humans  anger  disgust  depression  contempt  pride  envy  anxiety  surprise  sadness  fear 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Louis C.K. Was Almost Right About Smartphones, Loneliness, Sadness, the Meaning of Life, and Everything | The Frailest Thing
"“I think these things are toxic, especially for kids …” That’s Louis C.K. talking about smartphones on Conan O’Brien last week. You’ve probably already seen the clip; it exploded online the next day. In the off-chance that you’ve not seen the clip yet, here it is. It’s just under five minutes, and it’s worth considering.

Let me tell you, briefly, what I appreciated about this bit, and then I’ll offer a modest refinement to Louis C.K.’s perspective.

Here are the two key insights I took away from the exchange. First, the whole thing about empathy. Cyberbullying is a big deal, at least it’s one of the realities of online experience that gets a lot of press. And before cyberbullying was a thing we worried about, we complained about the obnoxious and vile manner in which individuals spoke to one another on blogs and online forums. The anonymity of online discourse took a lot of the blame for all of this. A cryptic username, after all, allowed people to act badly with impunity.

I’m sure anonymity was a factor. That people are more likely too act badly when they can’t be caught is an insight at least as old as Plato’s ring of Gyges illustration. But, insofar as this kind of behavior has survived the personalization of the Internet experience, it would seem that the blame cannot be fixed entirely on anonymity.

This is where Louis C.K. offers us a slightly different, and I think better, angle that fills the picture out a bit. He frames the problem as a matter of embodiment. Obviously, people can be cruel to one another in each other’s presence. It happens all the time. The question is whether or not there is something about online experience that somehow heightens the propensity toward cruelty, meanness, rudeness, etc. Here’s how I would answer that question: It’s not that there is something intrinsic to the online experience that heightens the propensity to be cruel. It’s that the online experience unfolds in the absence of a considerable mitigating condition: embodied presence.

In Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, his unnamed protagonist, the whiskey priest, comes to the following realization: “When you visualized a man or woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity … that was a quality God’s image carried with it … when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate.”

This is, I think, what Louis C.K. is getting at. We like to think of ourselves as rational actors who make our way through life by careful reasoning and logic. For better or for worse, this is almost certainly not the case. We constantly rely on all sorts of pre-cognitive or non-conscious or visceral operations. Most of these are grounded in our bodies and their perceptual equipment. When our bodies, and those magical mirror-neurons, are taken out of play, then the perceptual equipment that helps us act with a measure of empathy is also out of the picture, and then, it seems, cruelty proceeds with one less impediment.

The second insight I appreciated centered on the themes of loneliness and sadness. What Louis C.K. seems to be saying, in a way that still manages to be funny enough to bear, is that there’s something unavoidably sad about life and at the core of our being there is a profound emptiness. What’s more, it is when we are alone that we feel this sadness and recognize this emptiness. This is inextricably linked to what we might call the human condition, and the path to any kind of meaningful happiness is through this sadness and the loneliness that brings it on.



But the smartphone is not altogether irrelevant. It is part of a practice that is itself a manifestation of the problem. The problem is not the smartphone, it’s this thing we’re doing with the smartphone, which, in the past, we have also done with countless other things."
louisck  michaelsacasas  via:tealtan  2013  culture  digital  internet  behavior  empathy  commenting  alanjacobs  anonymity  blaisepascal  grahamgreene  cyberbullying  loneliness  sadness  humancondition  humans  human  happiness  web  online  meanness  rudeness  cruelty  smartphones  tolstoy  lmsacasas 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed | Music News | Rolling Stone
"Like many couples, we each constructed ways to be – strategies, and sometimes compromises, that would enable us to be part of a pair. Sometimes we lost a bit more than we were able to give, or gave up way too much, or felt abandoned. Sometimes we got really angry. But even when I was mad, I was never bored. We learned to forgive each other. And somehow, for 21 years, we tangled our minds and hearts together."



"Last spring, at the last minute, he received a liver transplant, which seemed to work perfectly, and he almost instantly regained his health and energy. Then that, too, began to fail, and there was no way out. But when the doctor said, "That's it. We have no more options," the only part of that Lou heard was "options" – he didn't give up until the last half-hour of his life, when he suddenly accepted it – all at once and completely. We were at home – I'd gotten him out of the hospital a few days before – and even though he was extremely weak, he insisted on going out into the bright morning light.

As meditators, we had prepared for this – how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou's as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn't afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love.

At the moment, I have only the greatest happiness and I am so proud of the way he lived and died, of his incredible power and grace.

I'm sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives."
laurieanderson  loureed  partnership  companionship  marriage  life  wisdom  love  forgiveness  emotions  friendship  2013  sadness  living  happiness  grace  death  obituaries 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Mark Williams on Mindfulness on Vimeo
"Is mindfulness the answer to all our prayers? The benefits are compelling: it’s free, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s been scientifically proven to work. It is recognised by those in and out of the health profession as a useful tool for generally improving our mental wellbeing, as well as dealing with more serious issues such as depression or anxiety disorders.

Professor Mark Williams, a leading authority on mindfulness, takes to our pulpit to explore the science behind it and look at its practical application in everyday life. He takes us through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation, and looks at how such practices can help us to live lives of greater presence, productive and peace."
attention  noticing  imagination  ptsd  peace  presence  meditation  anxiety  well-being  teens  mentalhealth  mindfulness  2011  markwilliams  sadness  depression  life  health  parenting  philosophy  psychology 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Unhappy childhoods afflict one in 10 youngsters, finds Children's Society | UK news | The Guardian
"The prime minister has already made a commitment to broadening the nation's understanding of quality of life, saying memorably that it was time "we admitted that there's more to life than money, & it's time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB – general wellbeing".

However, material wealth does appear to affect a child's happiness, a finding that echoes a recent Unicef report that claimed British children were caught in a "materialistic trap".

…as young as 8 were "aware of the financial issues their families face"…"Children who do not have clothes to 'fit in' with peers are more than three times likely to have low well-being than those that do. Around a quarter say they often worry about the way they look. Unhappiness with appearance increases with age & is greater among girls."

School also brings many children down. One in 10 children…are unhappy about their relationships with teachers, & one in six are unhappy about the amount they feel they are being listened to at school."
society  safety  relationships  sadness  2012  schools  learning  well-being  happiness  wealth  materialism  children  uk 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Calvin and Hobbes and the Trouble with Nostalgia | Splitsider
"In an explanation of Hobbes’s dual reality (a living, breathing, wiseass wild tiger to Calvin, and a stuffed animal to everyone else), Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson explains “I show two versions of reality, and each makes complete sense to the participant who sees it. I think that’s how life works.” We see the world through Calvin’s eyes. This perspective distinguishes the strip from Peanuts, in which kids talk like adults, or Cathy or Doonesbury, in which adults talk like adults. Watterson constantly fought with Universal Press Syndicate and newspapers to get more space, and to break the rigid rules of comic strip formats in order to formally explore Calvin’s imagination. As a result, no daily comic in wide circulation during the Nineties provided such regular and creative insights into a child’s interior life. In Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson takes us inside Calvin’s dreams, his fears, and the stories that he makes up for himself."
calvinandhobbes  nostalgia  comics  books  edg  srg  classideas  perception  billwatterson  reality  children  childhood  multiplicity  parenting  intelligence  imagination  memory  1990s  patience  ondemand  2011  sadness  loneliness  alienation  school  experience  structure  confusion  ajaronstein 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero’s Blog - The Storm and The Line
"…“changer les idées”… to do something different to clear one’s head.…to take a break, to have a rest, but most importantly…an interruption of routine…“to change one’s ideas.” Sometimes…inflicted on us…other times we may choose to do it for ourselves. If the world can be reinvented, we should reassess our presumptions and ideas, especially when we find ourselves in situations that shake us to the core…

…everything we do, everything we make, is not about the beginning or the end of things. We may draw a line, but we are in the thick of life. We make for these middle parts. Every time we sit down to write, draw, design, paint, dance, we do so because we believe there will be a tomorrow. Every movement and each creation says, “The world is not done yet.” To make is to be optimistic. We get to make tomorrow for ourselves and one another, and we are lucky, because we are allowed to be engaged with the world and one another in this way…"
design  culture  writing  language  life  nicholsonbaker  creativity  creating  making  doing  glvo  optimism  change  meaning  meaningmaking  happiness  sadness  emotions  frankchimero  routine  disruption  disruptive  disruptors  action 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero’s Blog - The Storm and The Line
"…“changer les idées”… to do something different to clear one’s head.…to take a break, to have a rest, but most importantly…an interruption of routine…“to change one’s ideas.” Sometimes…inflicted on us…other times we may choose to do it for ourselves. If the world can be reinvented, we should reassess our presumptions and ideas, especially when we find ourselves in situations that shake us to the core…

…everything we do, everything we make, is not about the beginning or the end of things. We may draw a line, but we are in the thick of life. We make for these middle parts. Every time we sit down to write, draw, design, paint, dance, we do so because we believe there will be a tomorrow. Every movement and each creation says, “The world is not done yet.” To make is to be optimistic. We get to make tomorrow for ourselves and one another, and we are lucky, because we are allowed to be engaged with the world and one another in this way…"
design  culture  writing  language  life  nicholsonbaker  creativity  creating  making  doing  glvo  optimism  change  meaning  meaningmaking  happiness  sadness  emotions  frankchimero  routine  disruption  disruptive  disruptors  action 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Audiences experience 'Avatar' blues - CNN.com
"James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora. On the fan forum site "Avatar Forums," a topic thread entitled "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible," has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie."
depression  virtualworlds  sadness  pandora  hollywood  culture  future  psychology  media  environment  film  avatar  blues  immersion  movies  3d  health 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Chimpanzees' grief caught on camera in Cameroon - Telegraph
"More than a dozen chimps stand in silence watching from behind their wire enclosure as Dorothy, a chimp in her late 40s who died of heart failure, is wheeled past them."
animals  sadness  grief  emotions  emotion  evolution  pain  behavior 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Quote of the day: Timothy Ferris
""What is the opposite of happiness? Sadness? No. Just as love and hate are two sides of the same coin, so are happiness and sadness. Crying out of happiness is a perfect illustration of this. The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is - here's the clincher - boredom... The question you should be asking isn't 'What do I want?' or 'What are my goals?' but 'What would excite me?' Remember - boredom is the enemy, not some abstract 'failure.'" I recently realized that for me, the opposite of being depressed isn't being happy, but rather being active. So perhaps happiness and boredom are opposites."
boredom  happiness  sadness  depression  mind  psychology  love  hate 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Author of the month: Michael Rosen | By genre | guardian.co.uk Books
"When I said, 'He's dead,' you'd see kids just nodding, 'Oh, right, that's what happened, is it?' Very matter of fact." Which may be how Rosen had sense that children could handle material in his Sad Book that, quite simply, makes sense of sadness."
books  children  death  grief  sadness  parenting 
may 2008 by robertogreco

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