What I learned today!

I kind of learned it…it’s flapping around in my head, trying to find some connections…

Now before you click ‘unfollow’, I know some people think that Sam Harris is a right-wing apologist at best, but I would venture to say that anyone who thinks this has never actually listened to him speak or read an article or book he’s written. Just saying.

I listened to this today. It’s a lot to take in.

I urge anyone and everyone to listen to this and open a conversation with me, with their kids, or their colleagues about it. I would also encourage anyone suffering Depression or Anxiety to listen to this podcast if they are seeking another take on healing and treatment. Haidt and his co-author Lukianoff talk about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in a way I have never heard before, stating that the recent focus on trigger-warnings and micro-aggressions is actually counter-productive to healing past-trauma. I’m certainly not a psychologist by any stretch but it rang true for me.

I used to riff on Nietzsche’s old line “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. My take on it was “what doesn’t kill us makes us wafer thin until we snap at the slightest provocation“. Not really helpful, I know. In their new work, The Coddling of the American Mind, they explain what they call three fundamental untruths that lead to cognitive distortions and how we become victims of our own flawed mindsets. These are what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, always trust your feelings, and life is a battle between good people and evil people. Apparently, we’ve all been wrong about this stuff and it’s hurting the kids.

When they break it down like that it’s easy to see why those might not be the best foundations for a fully functioning life.

Here’s the beginning of the blurb, if you’re interested (and all parents probably should be…)

In this expansion of their 2015 piece for the Atlantic, Lukianoff and Haidt argue that the urge to insulate oneself against offensive ideas has had deleterious consequences, making students less resilient, more prone to undesirable “emotional reasoning,” less capable of engaging critically with others’ viewpoints, and more likely to cultivate an “us-versus-them” mentality. They identify the cause in a growing obsession with protecting college students, rooted in the cult of “safetyism”—the idea that all adverse experiences, from falling out of a tree as a child to experiencing a racial microaggression as a college sophomore, are equally dangerous and should be avoided entirely. 

You know what, I need to listen to the podcast again because I found it really interesting and I think I really only got the gist. I need to dive deep into this… It’s possible I could just listen to Harris and Naomi Klein for a year and be a whole lot smarter for it. I love the internet!

Then I opened up Facebook for my allotted time (10 minutes in the evening, but it sometimes sucks me in and spits me out an hour later…) and watched this interesting video from Tonightly with Tom Ballard.

I’m not always a huge fan of Tom’s work but this made a lot of sense. I wrote a few months back on how I feel it’s the Left’s responsibility to find a path forward; let’s face it, the Right has little or no intention of building bridges, but ‘a race to the bottom’ isn’t going to get us anywhere! Except to the bottom and we really don’t want to go there.

I find myself fearful of upsetting anyone. I recently experienced the chilly breeze of the call-out culture when I suggested that screaming ‘racist’ at people was counter-productive, especially if said people (me…) were merely suggesting that the youth crime issue in Melbourne might have something to do with lack of access to education and jobs for new arrivals to the country and that denying there was a problem actively restricted the possibility that politicians might do something about it. Call me crazy…