Category Archives: Mediation

Happiness pension plan – a pillared formula?

This article (below) discusses happiness as a direction, and the elements of that state of mind. And, yes, there’s a science of happiness. And a “happiness pension plan.”

Yet, in such direction, recall our mantra:

What’s the good news about habits? They’re hard to break.
What’s the bad news about habits? They’re hard to break.

There’s also a question of social engineering. Can “villains” (and their minions) be happy? – Tick off Brooks’ elements of happiness. Might autocrats exploit Brooks’ formula?

No yellow-brick-road, eh.

• Big Think > “There is a formula for happiness — but it’s highly misunderstood” by Arthur C. Brooks [note his Wiki bibliography] (7′ video with transcript) – “Happiness is NOT about feelings.”

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Algorithmic demagoguery – Monsters from the Id redux

A delirious, inexhaustible, social fountain of information … what could go …

A new book (below) reminded me of the sci-fi classic 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, and how an extinct godlike race fell prey to the ultimate persuasive technology (“unaffected by intelligence, ethics, or morality”). There was not even time for an apology by the Krell entrepreneurs, eh.

Hopefully, moderation will prevail. And there’ll be collective action to tame the demons unleashed by social algorithms.

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Make 1 new friend a year?

Here’s some advice on building the sense of being connected socially.

• Washington Post > Advice > “Making new friends can be hard. Here are 5 ways to make 1 friend a year.” by Emma Nadler, psychotherapist and author (June 23, 2024) – Align with your interests; give attention; show care to others and yourself; take healthy risks; and seek a fresh perspective.

There are many people longing for closer relationships. A 2022 and 2023 Gallup survey found that less than half of U.S. adults reported feeling “very” connected to others.

Here are five ways to begin a new friendship. They are informed by my perspective as a practicing psychotherapist for over 15 years and my experiences as a caregiver who has struggled with seasons of isolation. What I have learned is that friendships are ever-changing, complex and worth the effort they require.

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Seeing ourselves beyond simplified scripts

So, simplified strategies help us cope with emotional & mental burdens, like too many choices. This article discusses cognitive shortcuts in a similar context: “Our minds are naturally inclined to use simplified strategies to conserve mental energy and reduce cognitive load.”

Although “self-talk is what separates us from other species,” there’s a negative edge. It reveals early stories (scripts) which simplified framing ourselves and the world. Such simplifications (or partial perceptions) can bias our outlook, stand in the way of healthy outcomes.

How do we find the energy and support to reframe those beliefs (“reparent your inner child”)? To overcome fears? To realize “more balanced and realistic self-talk?” And to nurture positive relationships?

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if choice = freedom, are > choices always better?

I remember reading the book Small Is Beautiful in grad school. About rethinking “when enough is enough.” Does more = happiness? Does “choice” = “freedom?” Is “more, more, more” sustainable?

Freedom of choice can be a luxury, especially when so many people around the world have few choices in navigating life.

And then there’re the more prosaic decisions or choices. Like what to eat, as in ordering from an expansive restaurant menu. Or pondering all the different salad dressings in a grocery store aisle.

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Beacons & broken souls – the challenge of modernity

I regularly chat with an aspiring screenwriter about writing stories, narrative arcs, TV streaming series & films, …

So, recently the ‘Beacon 23’ series returned to MGM+ for a second season. I watched the first season on Amazon Prime. There’s something about beacons (and lighthouses) – guides in the void.

• > “‘Beacon 23′ series returns to MGM+ on April 7 with glowing blue rocks and alien artifacts” – Season one was short on action but loaded with compelling personalities whose shifting alliances and motivations made for some intriguing confrontations. [1]

That got me musing about “broken souls” and contours of conflict.

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the social media problem – 230 bloody hands

So, the recent congressional hearing Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis reminded me of social media’s ongoing saga of good, bad & ugly – both its direct impact and parallel political drama. Perhaps there’s a path forward with collaborative bills, updates to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, …

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more anger does not equal a vision

“Sometimes being angry is easier than facing the truth.” – AppleTV+ Foundation S2E6

“Enraged & engaged.” Is it all just about anger and money (power)?

This year (2024) I’ve already got unsolicited (and somewhat puzzling) emails from novice political candidates in other, far away states. Likely cranked out by the tens of thousands from compiled, commercial mailing lists. The contents always have a dire tone.

The latest one used the political trope of “I’m a fighter,” as if any other advocacy is a cop-out. As if everything’s a smackdown. As if political worthiness is only gauged as a warrior (in a righteous cause).

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‘Good’ thinking is hard work – intellectual traits

I had an interesting chat last week with a member at my health club. Not just about sports. At one point, we agreed that not knowing what we don’t know is an issue. He said, “I can tell that you’re a thinker.” [2] Is that unusual?

So, this recent article (below) caught my attention.

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