November, 2019

I have been a fan of Ronan Farrow since he exploded into the limelight with his article published in THE NEW YORKER in October, 2017. From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories He is intelligent, courageous, articulate and a good writer. I have added his latest book to my wish list.

Catch and Kill In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.

This young man has already had an outsized impact of society!

The Failed Political Promise of Silicon ValleyTech was meant to help us transcend our most intractable problems. What went wrong? By Kim Phillips-Fein

As people challenge the social certitudes that rose in the ’80s, the slicker, brighter future that machines promised looks shakier too. This deepening unease about technology—and the spaces that have nurtured it, like Silicon Valley—is testament to the shifting politics of our time. Inchoate and uncertain though this discomfort may be, it is an expression of desire for a new order.

The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America 

Many books now have a similar theme - an urgent need for systemic change, growing desire for a new world order. 

The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control

One of America’s leading experts in cults and mind-control provides an eye-opening analysis of Trump and the indoctrination tactics he uses to build a fanatical devotion in his supporters.

Because I myself spent twenty-five years inside a benign Christian cult, this approach to understanding Donald Trump is of great interest to me. The below review of this book is both excellent and balanced. There is a big difference between an actual cult and a movement with cult-like characteristics.

The Republican Party is in thrall to Trump. Does that make him a cult leader?

Steven Hassan, a former member of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church who escaped from mind control and built a career as a cult deprogrammer, argues in his new book that Trump is a cult leader whose followers are captive to his wily influences. But is this president a leader whose manipulative skills allow him to control the behavior of seemingly independent thinkers?

The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder In The Loss of Sadness, Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield argue that, while depressive disorder certainly exists and can be a devastating condition warranting medical attention, the apparent epidemic in fact reflects the way the psychiatric profession has understood and reclassified normal human sadness as largely an abnormal experience...  Framed within an evolutionary account of human health and disease, The Loss of Sadness presents a fascinating dissection of depression as both a normal and disordered human emotion and a sweeping critique of current psychiatric diagnostic practices. The result is a potent challenge to the diagnostic revolution that began almost thirty years ago in psychiatry and a provocative analysis of one of the most significant mental health issues today.

This book is of interest to me because of my personal experience with bouts of depression since I was a teenager. I was also a volunteer with the Canadian Mental Health Association for twelve years and I was on the senior management team of the Mental Health Commission of Canada for three years.

5 Phases in the Evolution of Human Cultural Sensibilities

Gregg Henriques, Ph.D., author of A New Unified Theory of Psychology, directs the Combined Clinical and School Psychology Doctoral Program at James Madison University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in depression, suicide and the personality disorders. He has developed a new meta-theoretical system for psychology

Henriques is someone who I pay attention to and I regularly read his blog posts on Pyschology Today, which is how I learned of Metamodernity

Metamodernity: Meaning and hope in a complex

Technological development, climate change and globalization are challenging the national institutions and modes of governance we created during the industrial era. Our old knowledge and general understanding of the world do not provide sufficient answers anymore. In order to maintain meaningful lives, social calm and liberal democracy, we need to upgrade our meaning making to match the complexity of the world we are creating.

The remarkable book, How to Think About War and Peace, was written in 1943 and published in 1944, obviously a significant time for the topic. How to Think About War and Peace was republished in 1995 concurrent with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. At midlife, I had discovered a love for philosophy and began browsing that section in local book stores. I bought the 1996 paperback second printing edition which I brought with me to Mexico.

A few years ago, Margaret Van Every of Open Circle asked me to give a presentation appropriate for Remembrance Day. I immediately declined. I felt very conflicted about war. I could think of nothing appropriate to say. But that started me thinking and I have been thinking a lot about the topic ever since.

This year I volunteered for the task and I am now scheduled to speak at Open Circle on November 10, 2019. As part of my preparation, I am doing something I rarely do, reading a book for a second time. I have now again finished How to Think About War and Peace by Mortimer J. Adler. Actually, I did more than just read the book. I have also prepared a chapter by chapter summary and commentary of the book.