Social Media Shaming: A call to conscience or mob madness?

Recently two books explore the good, bad and ugly of online shaming. Here's a brief review and reflections on where we are in the age of social networks

No, the Dalai Lama is not a Sexist (Taming the Angernet)

Social media scapegoating hit a new low a few days ago, in the attempted shaming of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A Jezebel article about the Dalai Lama went viral. Here are the facts and a response, and my own reflections on the "angernet."

Bringing an “Empathy” button to Facebook

Facebook announced that it was working on an alternative to the "Like" button. Some users clamor to "Dislike" posts, but here are some other, more pro-social options.

6 Reasons You Have to Read This Article – NOW!

Click to learn the ouroborus of listicles. Click to find out what Ouroborus means.

Sex, Love and Politics at the Movies

Mora Stephens' new film "Zipper" explores private needs and the public good. Starring Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey and with an appearance by John Cho, it's a great conversation starter about politics, the libido and ethics.

Geek Heresy: Bursting the Hi-Tech Hype Bubble

Kentaro Toyama takes aim at geek myths and cybersolutionism in his new book Geek Heresy. Social media gets a close look as well. Toyama draws important conclusions from his work in India, Africa and the U.S. on what really makes a difference in personal and societal development. Hint: it’s not your smartphone.

Why I’m Quitting Amazon - Workers of the World Unite!

The NYT's article on Amazon grabbed headlines this week. Toxic workplaces are anathema to the advocates of emotional intelligence. That's why I'm taking my business away from Amazon.

Otome: What We Can Learn About Love from J-Romance Games

Otome are romance simulation games, primarily for girls and women, initially made in Japan but now spreading worldwide. I was interviewed for the Bullet Train podcast as a psychiatrist to comment on what we can learn about love from otome. A lot, it turns out!

Is Donald Trump a Walking Subreddit?

Trump, the Reddit Revolt and this moment in the American psyche. Dealing with the Machiavellian dark drives of paranoid hatred. The problems of connection and disconnection are being surfaced - but how will they be solved?

Turning Point in Trust

Trust vs. Mistrust is the first Eriksonian developmental stage. America has been in the grips of mistrust socially and politically for decades. The last two weeks have brought a meaningful sign of hope, as we've stood for equality and against bigotry. This coming together marks a historical turning point in trust. There's work to be done, but there's reason to hope.

Fighting Back Against Bias in "Intellectualism" or "Reason"

David Niose's arguments against anti-intellectualism are interesting, but betray some significant cognitive distortions. Reason, in the end, cannot be totally free of bias without humility and relationship.

Headquarters? What Headquarters? Behind Pixar's Inside Out

Inside Out is a fantastic movie, highlighting the inner life of a girl, with plenty of positive female role models in the form of emotions. Sadness is the unlikely hero. We learn a lot about childhood vulnerability, emotional regulation, and adaptation. But emotional regulation, and the idea of a “Headquarters” in our mind, bear a closer look.

No, Self-Centeredness Is Killing America

David Niose argues that "America's social and political dysfunction is rooted in dangerous pathology: anti-intellectualism." But my view is it's not anti-intellectualism, but self-centeredness which is at the heart of social and political problems, including the racist hatred that motivated the Charleston massacre. The good news: We can do something about it.

Forgiving the Unforgivable: From Hatred to Empathy

What are the psychological and evolutionary imperatives that undergird hate and racism? How can we undercut hatred with forgiveness and love? An interdisciplinary, cross-cultural understanding and reflections on the Charleston massacre.

Is Social Media Inevitably Sociopathic?

The U.S. Supreme Court just overturned the conviction of a man who used violent language against his estranged wife online. Social media is inherently disinhibiting. What are the social, biological and evolutionary bases of cyber-disinhibition? What hope is there to control our online behavior? Here's an argument to keep our relationships primarily IRL (In Real Life).

#rednoseday: Mental Health Is Social Equity!

Thursday, May 21 is the first Red Nose Day in the U.S. Here are some thoughts on what emotional problems are worsened with socio-economic inequity and why.

9-Man Doc Showcases Chinese-American Male Identity in Sports

A talk with the creator of "9-Man," an award-winning documentary about a version of volleyball played in Chinese American communities for a century.

Ex Machina: Oedipus Ex?

Ex Machina opens wide this weekend. What does it mean to us to create life technologically? What does it say about our fears and hopes? Thoughts on Ex Machina and Her.

Top Pacific Heart Stories of 2014-2015

The Pacific Heart celebrated some milestones this year, including a viral Op Ed in The New York Daily News last weekend! Here are my top blog posts of the last year.

Slut vs. Stud: Monica Lewinsky and the Shaming of Girls

Monica Lewinsky is creating another cultural moment - her recent TED talk has garnered over 500,000 views in a few days, and rightly calls for a culture of compassion to combat cyberbullying and shaming. The soon-to-be-released film The Sisterhood of Night also explores shaming and cyberbullying in the lives of teen girls. Here are some thoughts on both.

The Angry Asian Showdown at the Social Media Corral

The "Angry Asian Man" (Phil Yu) and "Angry Asian Girl" (Lela Lee) are involved in a dustup that some say has "damaged the Asian-American community." Here's my take on the social media firestorm. My takeaway: depending on social media to connect us is a really, really big mistake. The medium itself is inherently flawed and beyond repair.

Goodbye Facebook, Hello World

I deactivated my Facebook account, after 8 years. Here's why. Stay tuned for more discussion of the Facebook experience. I've explored the good, the bad and the ugly - and concluded that Facebook is totally unnecessary.

Je ne suis pas Facebook - #Facebook, a Benighted Community?

Recently, the discussion over Charlie Hebdo turned heated on my Facebook feed. I felt ostracized, and I realized that Facebook could not bring me closer to others, and instead caused attachment to opinion and argument. Here's how "je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie) became "Je ne suis pas Facebook" (I am not Facebook). Is it time for you to deactivate?

#Blacklivesmatter: The Problem with Online #Anger

The deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many others continue to inspire unrest online and in the real world. Our newsfeeds often turn "wall to wall" anger. How should we deal with our need for justice and our deep need for peace? A Buddhist Psychiatrist's thoughts. (photo by author)

Why Are Images Considered Sacred or Offensive by Some?

Some Muslims are offended by images of the Prophet Mohammed. What is the history of offensive images in modern religions? Why have people considered images so powerful? Why could the killers' reactions be an example of the images "punching up" not "punching down," as critics of Charlie Hebdo have proclaimed? (This is a photo of an early symbolic representation of Buddha)

Attached at the Hip: iPhone Separation Affects Us, And How!

An elegant study at the University of Missouri just confirmed what many of us can attest to anecdotally: smartphones may effectively be an extension of ourselves, causing us anxiety and possibly making us dumber when we hear them but are unable to answer. Clearly, we have welcomed technology into the boundaries of our selves. What do we do now?

Nonemployed Men vs. Women: Social Media Misses the Point

A recent NYT time-use article about nonemployed men and women was shared by many people in my feed. Most people used it to reinforce snap judgments, stereotypes and preconceived notions about men and women – specifically that men are self-centered and lazy, and women are selfless and hardworking. Here’s why that’s insulting and inaccurate.

Charlie, Fanaticism and the 'Bond of Opinions'

After tragedy, many are raising questions about the limits of free speech and at the same time condemning the language of violence. Underneath both—what Buddha called the "bond of opinion," which rages on social media and in political polarization the world over. How can we understand our inner opinion-maker, and what should we do about it?

Taylor Swift: Buddha-Diva? #shakeitoff

Here's how I think Taylor Swift channels ancient Buddhist wisdom - just in time to #shakeoff2014. A couple of Buddhist stories illustrate the message.

Interstellar: Less Than Stellar

What is important to think about when you're contemplating the end of the Earth and possibly humanity? Here are some thoughts.