Sadness, Depression, and the Dark Night of the Soul

Transcending the Medicalization of Sadness

By: Glòria Durà-Vilà

An interesting book I happened across today:

Sadness, Depression, and the Dark Night of the Soul : Transcending the Medicalisation of Sadness - Glòria Durà-Vilà

I found that religion played a crucial role in the way sadness was understood and resolved: symptoms that otherwise might have been described as evidence of a depressive episode were often understood in those more religiously committed within the framework of the Dark Night of the Soul narrative, an active transformation of emotional distress into a process of self-reflection, attribution of religious meaning and spiritual growth. A complex portrayal of the role of the spiritual director and the parish priest in helping those undergoing sadness and depression emerged, containing positive aspects and criticisms of some priests’ lack of commitment and mental health training.

The narratives and arguments presented here emphasize the importance of taking into account the context of depressive symptoms, as the absence of an appropriate context is seemingly what made participants conceptualize them as abnormal. They also warn about the risks of medicalizing normal episodes of sadness, raising questions about the lack of validity of the current decontextualized diagnostic classification for depressive disorder to people who are not mental health experts.

“Revealing a tension between the medical model of depression and the very different language of theology, this book explores how religious people and communities understand severe sadness, their coping mechanisms and their help-seeking behaviours.

Drawing from her study of practicing Catholics, contemplative monks and nuns, priests and laypeople studying theology, the author describes how symptoms that might otherwise be described as pathological and meet diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder are considered by some religious individuals to be normal and valued experiences. She explains how sadness fits into the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ narrative – an active transformation of emotional distress into an essential ingredient for self-reflection and spiritual growth – and how sadness with a recognised cause is seen to ‘make sense’, whereas sadness without a cause may be seen to warrant psychiatric consultation. The author also discusses the role of the clergy in cases of sadness and depression and their collaboration with medical professionals.”

See the book here:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313504426_Sadness_Depression_and_the_Dark_Night_of_the_Soul_Transcending_the_Medicalisation_of_Sadness_Foreword_by_Professor_Roland_Littlewood

Review by Dr. Andrew Clark:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/members/sigs/spirituality-spsig/spirituality-bookreviewbyandrewclark-sadnessdepression.pdf?sfvrsn=2f0e6eac_2

Posted in Books, Faith, Psychology | Leave a comment

When will I die? Scientists have created an end-of-life calculator that lets you plan for death

You can’t cheat death, but you might be able to predict it. This tool is based on data from the daily habits of 491,000 people over a six-year period.

Adrianne Cohen | Fast Company

The good doctors of Canada would like you to be prepared for death. Enter the RESPECT calculator, which predicts deaths within five years based on declines in daily activities such as bathing and walking—which are typically stronger predictors of mortality than diagnoses of disease.

The calculator called the Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community (RESPECT), is the brainchild of 13 researchers from across Canada. These people are planners. “The calculator allows families and their loved ones to plan,” says co-author Amy Hsu, investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute. “For example, it can help an adult child plan when to take a leave of absence from work to be with a parent or decide when to take the last family vacation together.”

Read the rest here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90653318/when-will-i-die-scientists-have-created-an-end-of-life-calculator-that-lets-you-plan-for-death

Posted in Mileposts, Science | Leave a comment

West Island Perspectives

Something that I often say, is that “you have to be where you are”. This is about fully embracing the moments of our lives and striving to be present for those that love and rely on us. That said, I have a strange relationship with Montréal — it is my home in the present, but I rarely identify as a Montrealer. I can however reflect on what I see and feel about Montreal in my photography. Thankfully, there is much beauty to see, and I hope that this collection of West Island photos are of interest to you all!

https://photo.cpaulcarter.com/montreal-west-island

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US Administration is ready to back the rights of consumers to repair what they own

President Joe Biden is reportedly gearing up to issue an executive order compelling the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to draft new “right to repair” rules — a set of regulations that will protect consumers’ ability to repair their equipment on their own and at independent shops.

While the FTC will get to decide the final shape of the forthcoming rules, Bloomberg reports that the recommended language will specifically cite mobile phone manufacturers and defense contractors as potential areas for regulation. Under the current policies, consumers — and the farming industry, specifically — are oftentimes prohibited from making repairs on their own devices thanks to software locks, end-user license agreements, and the use of proprietary parts that have functionally formed repair “monopolies” that small business owners are forced to resort to using when they need their equipment fixed.

As Motherboard reports, activists have lobbied for years for state-level legislation that would make it easier for the average person to repair their own devices, but have historically faced opposition from companies like Caterpillar, John Deere, and Apple, which have used aggressive lobbying tactics to ensure that there are as many logistical hurdles in place as possible in order to all but ensure that self-repairs are unfeasible.

If and when Biden does release new guidance — as he expected to in the coming days — it will be the first time in U.S. history that a president has intervened in the repair monopoly issue.

Read the rest here:

https://gizmodo.com/the-biden-administration-is-ready-to-go-to-war-over-ri-1847240802

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Sunset over Lac Saint-Louis

Wonderful images happen when you least expect them!

This is one photo taken in a series while the colours changed drastically during a Canada Day sunset over Lac Saint-Louis, near the West Island of Montreal. This is taken from the perspective of near the Saint Lawrence Seaway, where we were anchored with friends for the evening, hoping to watch celebratory fireworks for Canada’s Birthday. Nature provided a spectacular pre-fireworks light show that rivalled anything I have ever seen! Thankfully, I am rarely without at least a pocket camera, and happy for the result.

Nikon S92001

1/250 sec at f/5.2

ISO 200

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An old friend

A polish and restringing of my ol’ workhorse Guild D35 TB.

I’ve had this guitar for 45 years, and it’s like a familiar old friend, in so much as we can “pick up where we left off”.

Don’t mind the reflection!

#tobaccoburstlove #fingerstyle

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How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Book by Jenny Odell | Review by Jonah Engel Bromwich | NYT

In 2015, Jenny Odell started an organization she called The Bureau of Suspended Objects. Odell was then an artist-in-residence at a waste operating station in San Francisco. As the sole employee of her bureau, she photographed things that had been thrown out and learned about their histories. (A bird-watcher, Odell is friendly with a pair of crows that sit outside her apartment window; given her talent for scavenging, you wonder whether they’ve shared tips.)

Odell’s first book, “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy,” echoes the approach she took with her bureau, creating a collage (or maybe it’s a compost heap) of ideas about detaching from life online, built out of scraps collected from artists, writers, critics and philosophers. In the book’s first chapter, she remarks that she finds things that already exist “infinitely more interesting than anything I could possibly make.” Then, summoning the ideas of others, she goes on to construct a complex, smart and ambitious book that at first reads like a self-help manual, then blossoms into a wide-ranging political manifesto.

Though trained as an artist, Odell has gradually become known for her writing. Her consistent theme is the invasion of the wider world by internet grotesqueries grown in the toxic slime of Amazon, Instagram and other social media platforms. She has a knack for evoking the malaise that comes from feeling surrounded by online things. Like many of us, she would like to get away from that feeling.

Read the rest here:

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Robert Plant Instructs His Kids to Unleash His Unreleased Archive of Music for Free When He Dies

Posted in Entertainment, Music | Leave a comment

For the love of black & white

I confess that I haven’t shot a roll of B&W for 20 years but looking through my old negatives, it’s definitely something I need to try again soon. I was never much of a tri-x fan but loved shooting XP… “Ilford” sounded so exotic and British, I suppose, and the results were more predictable for me.

I have acquaintances much more clever than I who could wax eloquent about the allure of photos shot in B&W, particularly for street photography. There’s something intimate and timeless about a monochromatic photo… As if colour might somehow obscure the subject and the moment. – cPaul

Time Expired – St. John’s, NL – 1997
Standpipe – St. John’s, NL – 1997
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The Challenges of Animal Translation

Artificial intelligence may help us decode animalese. But how much will we really be able to understand?

Philip Ball | New Yorker

Illustration by Jakov Jakovljević

Disney’s 2019 remake of its 1994 classic “The Lion King” was a box-office success, grossing more than one and a half billion dollars. But it was also, in some ways, a failed experiment. The film’s photo-realistic, computer-generated animals spoke with the rich, complex voices of actors such as Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor—and many viewers found it hard to reconcile the complex intonations of those voices with the feline gazes on the screen. In giving such persuasively nonhuman animals human personalities and thoughts, the film created a kind of cognitive dissonance. It had been easier to imagine the interiority of the stylized beasts in the original film.

Disney’s filmmakers had stumbled onto an issue that has long fascinated philosophers and zoologists: the gap between animal minds and our own. The dream of bridging that divide, perhaps by speaking with and understanding animals, goes back to antiquity. Solomon was said to have possessed a ring that gave him the power to converse with beasts—a legend that furnished the title of the ethologist Konrad Lorenz’s pioneering book on animal psychology, “King Solomon’s Ring,” from 1949. Many animal lovers look upon the prospect of such communication with hope: they think that, if only we could converse with other creatures, we might be inspired to protect and conserve them properly. But others warn that, whenever we attempt to communicate with animals, we risk projecting our ideas and preconceptions onto them. We might do this simply through the act of translation: any human language constrains the repertoire of things that can be said, or perhaps even thought, for those using it.

Read the rest here:

https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/the-challenges-of-animal-translation?

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Is Coming Back—Again

Rob Bricken | Gizmodo

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In 1997, Mike Nelson and his robot friends, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, watched a bad sci-fi film called The Thing That Couldn’t Die. We might as well rename the beloved TV series Mystery Series Theater 3000 with the same title, because the fan-favorite show looks like it’s almost certainly going to be resurrected from the dead for the third time.

Creator Joel Hodgson has kicked off a new MST3K Kickstarter campaign to create three to 12 new episodes of the show, similar to the 2016 campaign that helped create seasons 11 and 12. However, this time MST3K will be returning to an online, virtual theater where fans can watch a myriad of premieres, live events, and more. You’ll also be able to host group watch parties, with a new collection of episodes released each month.

If past is prologue, the show is almost certainly on its way. The original Kickstarter earned more than $6 million, breaking the site’s then-record for its most-funded campaign (held by the Veronica Mars movie). The show has a legion of fans who have loved it since it first premiered back in 1988 on a Minneapolis, Minnesota, TV channel. But it’s also gained more over 30-plus years with its delightful simple concept—just a trio of friends watching cheesy movies and making fun of them. It’s just that two of those friends happen to be puppets.

The initial goal of the Kickstarter is to raise $2.2 million in order to create the theater, which Hodgson calls the Gizmoplex, and release three new episodes. However, the ultimate goal is $5.5 million, which would allow 12 new episodes, 12 new shorts, monthly live events, and Gizmoplex apps for TVs and mobile devices. The donation rewards are pretty amazing, including a music box that plays the classic “MST3K Love Theme” from the show’s end credits, a snowglobe, and a chance to riff a short with Joel Hodgson himself. Best of all, Hodgson says the plan is to keep making more MST3K episodes as long as fans keep paying for them, presumably with more Kickstarters, meaning the show will no longer depend on a network’s support to keep existing.

Posted in Entertainment, Nostalgia | Leave a comment

100 Myths of Home

100 short tales of life on the island of Newfoundland, Whimsical, magical, all that and a bag of chips. Two-minute reads.

http://oralmews.com/

Posted in Interweb, Newfoundland | Leave a comment

The Convenient Lie of ‘Objectivity’

Marie Solis | Jezebel

When Washington Post editors banned national politics reporter Felicia Sonmez from reporting on sexual misconduct because she is an assault survivor, they reportedly told her that they were worried about the “appearance of a conflict of interest.” Top editors reassured her that they themselves didn’t think there was a conflict; they believed she could write an unbiased story on the subject, they said.

Sonmez spoke out about her sexual assault in 2018, following a letter she wrote to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China accusing Jon Kaiman, her former colleague, of assaulting her one night when she was drunk. A woman named Laura Tucker had made similar allegations against Kaiman earlier that year, and national outlets picked up both of their stories. Kaiman, who was working at the Los Angeles Times at the time, resigned after the paper launched an investigation into the accusations. (Kaiman has denied both Sonmez’s and Tucker’s allegations and insisted that “all acts we engaged in were mutually consensual.”)

Months later, when sexual misconduct allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh emerged, Sonmez was told by Post editors that she couldn’t cover the story. The restrictions were temporarily lifted before being reinstated in 2019, according to Somnez. Since then they have prevented her from writing about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s revelation that she is a survivor of assault; the several allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens; and the Violence Against Women Act.

After Sonmez tweeted on March 28 about these restrictions on her reporting—and after Politico and Jezebel covered Sonmez’s story—the Post announced that it would be lifting the coverage ban. “Following a newsroom discussion two weeks ago, editors began re-evaluating limitations on the scope of Felicia’s work as a breaking-news reporter,” Kristine Coratti Kelly, Chief Communications Officer at the Washington Post, told Jezebel. “They have concluded such limitations are unnecessary.”

What might at first seem unusual and anomalous about what Sonmez faced at the Post is in fact the opposite. Her treatment is symptomatic of newsrooms’ sometimes uncritical devotion to the principle of “objectivity,” which can easily be warped and deployed for sinister ends. Part of the problem with objectivity is that no one can quite agree what it is: Does it mean attempting to occupy the exact middle ground between two extremes of opinion (what New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen and others call “the view from nowhere”)? Or does it mean balancing the scales, because doing so creates a more precise rendering of the truth? Is the latter what we would call “fairness,” and if so, is this what many of us actually mean when we say objectivity, or is it a separate idea entirely? These are difficult questions which don’t necessarily have a single, definitive answer. Reporters face them anew each time they sit down to write a story.

Read the rest here:

https://jezebel.com/the-convient-lie-of-objectivity-1846622117

Posted in Culture War, Mind The Gap, Politics | Leave a comment

Maine May Soon Legalise Viking-Style Funerals So You Can Go Out In A Blaze Of Glory

A proposed bill by a determined funeral services company could make this happen in the Northeastern state.

Read the rest here:

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/state/proposal-would-allow-viking-style-funeral-pyres-in-maine/97-736af899-9606-4951-940e-1b4ee0ea187d

Posted in Mileposts | Leave a comment