Culture

Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

From Band of Brothers to Band of Tweeters

"The term 'band of brothers' has become almost a cliché to describe how the close personal bonds formed between soldiers translate into combat effectiveness. Yet my combat experience in Iraq suggests that the kind of unit cohesion we saw in past wars may be coming undone because of a new type of technological cohesion: social media, and too much connectivity." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Death Rate Soars for Large Segment of Middle-Aged Whites

"The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide... [E]conomic insecurity, the decay of communities and the breakdown of families probably have had some impact on death and illness rates... An increase in the mortality rate for any large demographic group in an advanced nation has been virtually unheard of in recent decades, with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Rabbi and Psychologist Abraham Twerski and the Wisdom of ‘Peanuts’

"Twerski noted that he was not aware of any American psychologist who had the 'intuitive psychological knowledge' that [Charles] Schulz had [and he] continues to draw upon the cartoonist’s wisdom in his lectures and books... Charlie Brown is one of the greatest thinkers of modern times, and it took Rabbi Twerski to bring his profundity to public notice.” [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Here’s Why Too Much Choice Stresses Us Out

"The standard line is that choice is good for us, that it confers on us freedom, personal responsibility, self-determination, autonomy and lots of other things...  [but] we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from. When there are lots of alternatives to consider, it is easy to imagine the attractive features of alternatives that you reject that make you less satisfied with the alternative that you’ve chosen..." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Was Steve Jobs Suffering from Deprivation Neurosis?

"Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin... writes his characters as if they are making the case to God why they should be allowed into heaven... Steve Jobs wanted to be eulogized like John Lennon was, but felt he wasn’t worthy of being loved. Rejected by both his birth parents and the first couple who adopted him, he believed he was 'irreparably damaged.' So he hit upon a clever workaround. He built computers so friendly, so empowering, so easy to use, that we would fall in love with them instead." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Feeling Guilty Means You Care

"Living with a guilt-prone mind is exhausting. And yet, weirdly, the bulk of the psychological research points to some serious social perks of always feeling guilty... in that the guilt-prone tend to have better relationship skills than people who do not often feel guilty. Now, new research starts to hint at why this might be: Guilty types are pretty great at reading other people’s emotions..." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

School Shootings: Is Our Way of Life to Blame?

"Any individual mass murderer has to answer for his actions, but we’ve got to ask ourselves: 'Why there are so many of them? And why are they so angry?' ...We are highly individualistic and competitive. We’ve left behind all of the traditional social structures that gave us identities, responsibilities, communities, and a sense of belonging... The Beatles asked, 'All the lonely people, where do they all come from?' Indeed, they are everywhere. And some of them are angry." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

M Train Reveals Patti Smith’s Theology

"'M Train' is the work of an artist growing older and becoming lonelier—the word 'empty' appears often... Smith admits as much, writing of her 'fascination for melancholia' and the poetic potential that resides in her 'numinous malady.' ...never have I encountered an artist whose way of being in the world, with its rituals and talismans, seemed so very Catholic, without also having the literal trappings of Catholicism." [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

What’s Often Missing From the Lives of Shooters Is a Father

"Like so many other shooters, Christopher was socially withdrawn, searching online for a philosophy to suit his circumstances, and pouring himself out to ersatz communities there. The Washington Post notes: 'Social media accounts attributed to him, including a MySpace page and an online dating profile, offer hints of his interests — the Irish Republican Army, punk rock music, an antipathy toward religion — but little real insight.'” [Read Article]
Mind & Spirit - Daily Read

Has Digital Culture Destroyed the Humanities? 

“Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed... The fact that an Internet culture undermines the habit of sustained attention in a way that is bound to have repercussions for literature and indeed for our experience of selfhood — it is hard not to agree with Birkerts, although… this does seem a rather reductive vision of human destiny.” [Read Article]