Why Everybody’s More Crazier

12 October 2016

or, how our global economics contributes to the spread of mental illness

image by Derek Hess

from the Article over at the Guardian:

What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis.

There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same: human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology. Though our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism. Read the rest of this entry »

the Milgram Experiment

15 April 2015

How far is too far?

The CBC radio program Ideas covered the notion of why we obey (podcast is available), which adds to this site’s exploration of the psychology of evil (so to speak), and the question of why otherwise civilized people come to carry out atrocities upon one another.

The Milgram Experiment, considered unethical by today’s standards, was an eye-opener in how far people were willing to obey an authority figure in applying electric shock to another person under the guise of pain-induced learning.

I really just needed a parking spot for these videos.

Pornography, Sex Work, and Exploitation

2 April 2015

Article Links for Contemplation

Chris Hedges gave a talk recently at Simon Fraser University near Vancouver BC. The link to the transcript follows.

Starts at about the 9:00 mark

No one is Free Until All Are Free [talk transcript]

The Whoredom of the Left

Pornography is What the End of the World Looks Like

These three articles cover a lot of territory regarding the subject of attitudes (in terms of public statements as well as legislation around the sex trade), and while I tend to agree with Chris Hedges on this, I haven’t given this subject the depth of consideration it really merits.

in the above transcript, Hedges quotes Andrea Dworkin:

Capitalism is not wicked or cruel when the commodity is the whore; profit is not wicked or cruel when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man’s pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when it is sexual slavery; torture is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.

Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario, was opposed to the prostitution bill which she recently claimed isn’t unconstitutional (not exactly a ringing endorsement), and the province will uphold the law.

The relevant parts of the Canadian Criminal Code include Offences in Relation to Offering, Providing or Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration as well as Commodification of Sexual Activity.

A friend of mine has an interesting take on trading sex  for money: if it’s between two consenting adults, then it’s their business. If a third party enters the picture, then exploitation is bound to be involved (pimps, madams, human traffickers, etc.)

I certainly don’t have anything more to offer than the articles above, however, I think that we need to take a good, long look at the ubiquity of pornography, the ease of access, and its public perception as a relatively harmless vice. There is an awful lot of marketing and advertising that contributes to its normalization. Check out the ethical adman for some insight into these issues.

Antisocial Personality Disorders

29 December 2014

Normalizing the Abnormal?

Following up on the entry regarding the Lucifer Effect, I’ve delved into the definitions of antisocial behaviour. The two sources I’ve used are the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), considered the principle resources for defining and diagnosing mental illnesses, and the World Health Organization (WHO)’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

I’m at odds of late, with how individuals around me behave, as often it is acceptably antisocial (or at least to me it would appear so), and I’m curious about how much of this is merely individual surliness, and how much of it is a cultural acceptance (and in some cases promotion) of antisocial behaviour. I don’t have a vast background in psychiatry or psychology, just a dilettantish curiosity in what makes us behave the way we do, beyond our personal choices. I certainly don’t claim to have any answers, only questions. Mostly variations of WTF?

Read the rest of this entry »

Counting from Now

8 August 2014

How to think of time as relative to this particular moment.

Although the idea had passed through my thoughts some time ago, I never gave it much thought, until a friend and I were immersed in a discussion about our relative time-related projects (and for the record, the man is a genius, with some interest projects on the go – but that’s for him to share).

theAbysmal Calendar begins counting measures of time with the numeral 0 (this is how the Maya counted, which is where I learned of it). This allows us to count the time periods, like we do with seconds, minutes, and hours. The day begins at midnight (for some), which on the clock is 00:00:00 – or 0 hour, 0 minute, 0 second.

this is followed by 00:00:01, which indicates that one second has elapsed. It is a way of counting a measure of time AFTER it has run its full course.

This is not how we mark longer measures of time. We begin the numbering with 1 (as in the years 1-2014), or in the case of the days of the month, we use the ordinal system of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, which is an indication of the sequence of the days.

theAbysmal applies the system of counting from 0 (as we saw with clock time) to every measure of time, from the second (and by extension, its subdivisions) to the year (and by extension, all its groupings). So, in this sense, time can be indicated from second (on the right) to the year (on the right)

The moment I finish this sentence would be noted as
Year 1, Month 8, Day 5, Hour 13 (1pm), Minute 14, second 39

or in Gregorian terms
1:16 pm and 39 seconds, August 8th, 2014

That’s the way to have an absolute count of days. Any given day is a fixed reference point on the calendar (and every other calendar).

However, if we apply the 0 to the current moment, as in this year, this month, today, this hour, this minute, this second. As we experience the progression of time, the current moment remains the same, but the numbers assigned to every past and future day change. This is a very different method of thinking about time. We do this to some extent, refering to next year, this month, yesterday.

Having this system overlap with theAbysmal requires some kind of programming knowledge to do anything with, and I abandoned any hope of acquiring such knowledge as I scribbled pencil marks in tiny boxes on punchcards.

At any rate, it’s something I haven’t seen applied to any other calendar system, and it would provide yet another function that this tool could perform, if needed. Here’s a comparison. Not sure I’ve quite figured out how to do this.

Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 2014 8 8 1 28 pm
theAbysmal 1 8 5 13 28
Relative 0 0 0 0 0


Past Date
Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 1945 8 6 8 15 am
theAbysmal N/A 08 03 8 15
Relative -69 0 -2 -5 -13


Future Date
Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 2050 1 1 1 01 am
theAbysmal 38 0 10 01 01
Relative +37 -8 +5 -12 -27

Play Games – Live Long

10 July 2012

Play ethics > work ethics

Jane McGonigal explains how playing games can lengthen & strengthen your life. It’s a matter of turning what’s necessary and natural into a game, involving others, and keeping fit. Here’s her game, SuperBetter, which helped her overcome the chronic pain that came with a traumatic brain injury.

This lecture is totally worth the 20 minutes.

Here’s an earlier lecture where she plies us to play more.

164 Days to Dec 21st 2012