There's new evidence that depression is not just a disorder of the mind.
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On ourselves, our societies, and our emotions
Thomas Henricks Ph.D.
Have we become a shouting, disrespectful crew, who toss out opinions in the most aggressive ways—and then disregard counter-views?
The purpose of holidays is to acknowledge indebtedness to others. Do not confuse gratification with that sense of willing obligation.
How old is the current division of Blue and Red? I suggest it is as least as old as the mid-nineteenth century, with its cataclysmic moment, the Civil War.
In the end, we must ask ourselves whether our on-screen exploits are attempts to make us feel, not “good” but “less bad.” If that’s the case, we need to alter our commitments.
Leaders come and go. Constant is the duty of ordinary people to select public figures whose character, temperament, social skills, and policies match the challenges of the day.
The more important theme, for any of us, is integrity of personhood. We should be the persons we say we are, not just as social apparitions but in all the moments of our lives.
Disadvantaged people hunger for something the rest of us take for granted—public acknowledgment that one is a worthwhile person with the same hopes and concerns as anyone else.
Those of us in the socially dominant groups must remind ourselves of our profound advantages. Some of those advantages, which we find unremarkable, are galling to others.
Caring for others is a fundamental aspect of the human condition. But this society does little to support the expression of that commitment. Indeed, it discourages it.
Sport is about the desire for accomplishment, a quest to take on new physical challenges. But it is equally a going backwards, a form of personal re-consolidation or regression.
We moderns support the idea that cultural selves – typically jolly, attractive, and ready to please – are more appealing than the ordinary people we are confronting now.
How do less wealthy people maintain a worthy self-concept in a class-based society, a place where people are encouraged to think of themselves as equal to anyone else?
Being authentic does not mean standing alone; it means making worthy judgments about the people one chooses to stand with.
We should be wary of those who claim to be self-made, who tout themselves as the emblems of accomplishment. These prominent people simply disregard the support they’ve had.
“Who” and “what” are we respecting when we proclaim our devotion to country? And who gets to say what our expressions of commitment – or non-commitment – "mean"?
Our possibilities for cooperating depend on respecting other people and courting their regard. Embarrassment, guilt, and shame keep us attentive to those concerns.
Be clear that strictly private benefit is not life’s best ambition. The best forms of comfort come from the support of others and not from self-maneuvering.
We operate with different standards of truth that harden into fixed “positions.” We must subject those standards – our own as well as others’ – to scrutiny.
The challenge—for both blue and red—is to abandon the noisy rhetoric and to consider, earnestly, how personal and public good can be integrated.
A “public” sphere appropriately transcends “private” concerns. The wealth of a nation is not the aggregate of individual interests but an expression of collective well-being.
There are people today who believe that the past presents a worthy, indeed better, model for living. Past times were simpler, or at least more blinkered in their resolve.
If we cannot escape the particular “bubble” of our lives, we should at least acknowledge that others operate in similar spheres, which are as important to them as ours are to us.
Ideas of race, inflamed by ideology, are remnants of a bygone age. It is time to defuse them and to communicate about the real issues that confront us all.
Disconnected from personal responsibility, expressive discourse leads to a public culture that is cantankerous, disorganizing, and sour.
Anger is the emotional refuge of those who have seen their positions in the world decline and who have lost faith in society’s ability to respond to those concerns.
Prejudicial resources must be deconstructed at all the five stages of judgment—and shown to be defective as a framework for living in a civil society.
Prejudice is a “resource system,” an arsenal of weaponry–cultural, social, and personal–that remains in storage most of the time but can be taken out and used strategically.
Despite its happy ending and persistent exploration of love, "Pride and Prejudice" is no romance. It is about the challenges of human discernment in a changing, newly mobile era
We must be careful in marking individuals off as despicable, or in making ourselves comfortable with them by terms like “crazy” or “radicalized” or "depressed.”
Modern people are unhappy because they cannot experience completion... No one knows if they have reached their destination or if that end-point is years ahead.
Thomas Henricks, Ph.D., is Danieley Professor of Sociology and Distinguished University Professor at Elon University.