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#142- Addiction, Depression & A Meaningful Life A Conversation with Johann Hari

 
RedSeed
 
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16 November 2018 09:18
 
Russco79 - 16 November 2018 06:52 AM

As for the cognitive dissonance of Trump the honesty is regard to what he actually thinks— I think he believes his bs lol.  And I think a lot of people would prefer someone who might be wrong than someone who is hard to read and may be lying to them.

Oh I’d never even considered that, so do you think some don’t treat his lies as proper lies, because even though they know they aren’t true, they feel he believes them? I’d say whether you’re the odd kind of person who can readily convince yourself that you’re telling the truth is besides the point! I also think for all his off-the-cuff lies that could just be impulsive cranial misfires, he tells plenty of big fibs that are far too useful, strategic and ‘on message’ to be mere delusion, but either way this is not desirable at all in the President of The United States surely.

Also if they just accept their president is a liar (of sorts, in their estimation), how do they know when he’s telling the truth? They’ll hardly be fact checking him will they, it’s easy to see how there are fears of a more permanent world of misinformation if some of the walls Trump is breaking through aren’t rebuilt.

Russco79 - 16 November 2018 06:52 AM

This is the awfulness of punitive political correctness, it’s creating a society of liars.  Some of the issues around political correctness are extremely complicated, certainly beyond the scope of most people’s day-to-day reasoning.  Punitive political correctness doesn’t allow people to think themselves to the correct solution, it just tells them the lines they should say.  This will never ever work and will obviously cause people to revolt.  That revolt looks like Donald Trump!

Totally agree that political correctness is a problem. Things like that, and of course the frenzy whipped up by entities like Fox in response, have played a big part in creating voters for Donald Trump. Maybe ultimately we’ll be able to look back and see we had to get here to bounce back and land somewhere in the middle, maybe in the history books Trump will be seen as a necessary evil. There’s still going to be a fight on to get back to that centre though.

 

 
Russco79
 
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17 November 2018 01:13
 

I really think you can plot a line to Trump.  It has been open season on Republicans for so long, every comedy show has lambasted rural americans as bible-bashing non-thinking rednecks.  Is it that surprising they hired big fella to punch back?  About 10 years ago I was fully indoctrinated, I literally couldn’t understand how anyone could be a Republican, they were the worst people in the world.  Then I did some reading and exorcised my hate.

If Trump doesn’t do anything too stupid (which is by no means assured) and there isn’t an economic crash then maybe people will look back at the last 4 years and think was all that screaming worth it?  Maybe it’ll help people understand the new media landscape which now sells pure outrage 24/7 and be more aware of being duped into a daily fit of rage.  In that case yes he could well be a necessary evil.

However there is a worst case scenario.  The Dems seem to be copying the Rs strategy of riling up the radicals within the base to motivate the masses.  If they win the presidency and a radical gets in that takes revenge for 4 years of Trump then it could be a disaster as whilst the Dems are crazier right now on average, all the extreme crazies are on the right and although maybe minute in numbers all it takes is a few to cause a whole lot of tragedy.

There is a hero shaped hole for whoever wins the next presidency to step in and say ok both sides are pretty mad lets steady the ship for 4 years without doing anything too crazy.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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17 November 2018 05:57
 

Russco79….

That is spot on, I think.  The data suggests there is an increasing number of hyper-partisans on both the left and the right—I forget the increase; it was not large, maybe from 23% to 30%, or something like that—but in any case it stands to reason that the Democrats, now that they have the House and stand to take the Senate in 2020, will also appeal to this increasingly radical element in their base, just as the Tea Party did with the Republicans when they took the House from Obama.  This would be a horrible outcome. 

Is it going to happen?  Will the breakdown get even worse (and anyway, how bad is it, given the upcoming criminal justice reform bill?), or will some hero emerge in 2020 to right the ship? Are there enough disillusioned yet wanting-to-be-optimistic elements left in the middle, or are there too many hypers in both bases now for a true centrist to get the nomination in either party?  I have no idea.

Given the horror of the spectacle, pundits think Trump is the Rubicon, the sign of the times, the harbinger—perhaps—of the end of Rome.  But I think 2020 is the real test.  Trump is, as you indicate, a shocking but in retrospect almost predictable culmination of a trajectory—a sign of pent up outrage that is actually based in something that’s quite easy to have sympathy with.  In this respect, he’s the moment of truth, not the beginning of the end—a moment for the reconciliation of opposing forces, not the victory of one over the other.  He’s the addict’s crisis that’s either going to bring about change or result in a lapse into something even worse.  And this makes me optimistic about Trump.  I like my moments of crisis; I embrace them.  If more liberals and conservatives had this attitude, I think, we’d see Trump as an opportunity to listen, to learn, and to find out what the crisis, underneath, is all about.  It’s just too bad the man is so despicable that by reflection those who support him must be despicable as well.  It’s that fallacy we need to get past if we are going to understand what this country really needs right now.

Freud said we love our symptoms like we love ourselves. They both satisfy and plague us because they reflect something deep about ourselves that we both do and don’t want to acknowledge.  But we need to acknowledge that causal something, if we are to be healthy again.  I say we need to see Trump as a symptom, and thus we need to love “the man” like we love ourselves, otherwise we’ll never truly understand what his Presidency has to teach us. And absent that lesson, 2020 may as well not happen, for it if happens otherwise it will probably mark the beginning of a decline from which only a god, not a hero, can save us.

[ Edited: 17 November 2018 07:22 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
RedSeed
 
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18 November 2018 06:30
 

Although I may personally not think the reasons worth it by a country mile - hiring someone as dishonest, abnormal and self-serving as Trump, just because he will give the lib-tards a proverbial bloody nose is a huge mistake to me, the effects of his presidency are so, so much more wider reaching than that - I know that all Trump supporters are not bad people. I’m not saying that, I’m just saying it’s just not driven by a love of honesty and morals, Trump is not that guy, the moral option. There’s a lot of squiggles as you have to duck and dodge things, drawing that upstanding, honest, moral line to Trump.

 
Russco79
 
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20 November 2018 08:12
 
RedSeed - 18 November 2018 06:30 AM

Although I may personally not think the reasons worth it by a country mile - hiring someone as dishonest, abnormal and self-serving as Trump, just because he will give the lib-tards a proverbial bloody nose is a huge mistake to me, the effects of his presidency are so, so much more wider reaching than that - I know that all Trump supporters are not bad people. I’m not saying that, I’m just saying it’s just not driven by a love of honesty and morals, Trump is not that guy, the moral option. There’s a lot of squiggles as you have to duck and dodge things, drawing that upstanding, honest, moral line to Trump.

Yeah I don’t think it’s a moral line, Trump is certainly not a man with many morals, but drawing any moral lines in any political circumstance is virtually impossible.  But one thing to note is a leader doesn’t need morals if he allows his people to live by their own.

As some moral fruit for thought, half the country want one thing, half the country want another.  Surely the moral thing is to let each half do what they want?  Dems states should be allowed to lean left, R states lean right.  In which case the federal govt should secede power to the states.  Well this is the Republican stance. It’s the Dems that want to use federal power to force the red states to live by their ethic.  Can you draw a moral line to that?

 
brazen4
 
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20 November 2018 09:36
 

For the most part I think most people, dems and repubs, are willing to live and let live. Historically it has been big issues like slavery and integration that have taken the juggernaut of Federal power to over ride states rights and force a moral decision. Federal power intervened in Mormon religious practice of multiple wives. Basic clean air and water laws are Federal even though the states can fine tune them to some degree.

 
patjk
 
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22 November 2018 21:58
 

So in the last year, I read Tribe by Sebastian Junger and Lost Connections by Hari, and a few months ago read Enlightenment Now by Pinker.  Tribe and Lost Connections both say that the west is becoming more depressed, more suicides, etc.  And I believed it and was quite convinced by their data and stories.  Enlightenment Now with Pinker says the opposite - suicide rates nor depression rates are not actually rising and those are myths.  What is true? I haven’t dug into the data but all 3 guys are brilliant and well intentioned people, but contradict each other (different data, different interpretations perhaps?).  Not sure what to believe. 

Had you only read Pinker’s book, you’d think depression and suicide aren’t rising specifically in the west.  Had you only read Hari’s and Junger’s, you’d think the west is deeply broken.  If you read all 3, you’re torn on what the truth is. Did anyone else notice these contradictions and wonder what the truth is?

 
RedSeed
 
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26 November 2018 05:03
 
Russco79 - 20 November 2018 08:12 AM

Yeah I don’t think it’s a moral line, Trump is certainly not a man with many morals, but drawing any moral lines in any political circumstance is virtually impossible.  But one thing to note is a leader doesn’t need morals if he allows his people to live by their own.

As some moral fruit for thought, half the country want one thing, half the country want another.  Surely the moral thing is to let each half do what they want?  Dems states should be allowed to lean left, R states lean right.  In which case the federal govt should secede power to the states.  Well this is the Republican stance. It’s the Dems that want to use federal power to force the red states to live by their ethic.  Can you draw a moral line to that?

That’s the thing though, Trump makes most other sleazy politicians (and not all politicians are sleazy liars, they’ve got more than their fair share but let’s be clear) look like saints. We’ve never had anyone like Trump in the White House. I’ve never even met someone as egregious as Trump, and I’ve met a couple of impulsive, self-serving bullshit artists in my time. That anyone thinks that that kind of personality, and with his questionable history, is the best choice to be deciding policy, controlling the military and holding so much influence over society etc. is absolutely crazy to me.

You will have to be specific about which issues you are talking about, as far as I know the Dems aren’t trying to replace the state/federal system with just a federal system? Then as for the morals of the situation, it depends on what they are trying to achieve. If guns in federal law are the issue for example: well I can’t buy any guns in Britain and I’d actually love to go shooting, I’ve always enjoyed military history and whatnot - but ultimately I realise it’s sensible (and certainly not immoral) to try hard to reduce gun deaths.

 
edgecumbe
 
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26 November 2018 18:10
 
patjk - 22 November 2018 09:58 PM

So in the last year, I read Tribe by Sebastian Junger and Lost Connections by Hari, and a few months ago read Enlightenment Now by Pinker.  Tribe and Lost Connections both say that the west is becoming more depressed, more suicides, etc.  And I believed it and was quite convinced by their data and stories.  Enlightenment Now with Pinker says the opposite - suicide rates nor depression rates are not actually rising and those are myths.  What is true? I haven’t dug into the data but all 3 guys are brilliant and well intentioned people, but contradict each other (different data, different interpretations perhaps?).  Not sure what to believe. 

Had you only read Pinker’s book, you’d think depression and suicide aren’t rising specifically in the west.  Had you only read Hari’s and Junger’s, you’d think the west is deeply broken.  If you read all 3, you’re torn on what the truth is. Did anyone else notice these contradictions and wonder what the truth is?

Yes, I did/do! I haven’t read either of these books, but see these claims cropping up again and again.

In the UK at least I don’t think there’s particularly strong evidence to support them. Firstly, on suicide, the Office for National Statistics reports male suicides as being at their lowest since records begun in 1981. Female suicides are up over the same period but not enough to offset the effect of falling male suicide rates:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2017registrations

There is some evidence (see Parliamentary report: Mental Health statistics for England, p5) that other mental health indicators are trending worse, but as Hari says, it’s difficult to separate out whether this is because there is less of a stigma now around reporting. Anecdotally, I can say the attitudes to depression and mental illness have changed dramatically over the period described. In any eventuality it does not seem that there is a particularly significant change in this data at least.

I don’t know whether this holds in the US but it should certainly give us pause because many of the same factors that Hari cites are at play in both countries.

 
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