So, what might the so-called “new normal” in the U.S. look like prior to everyone getting a reliable vaccine? How will we interact with each other over the next year, or perhaps longer? In short, what kind of society will emerge as we await a vaccine or cure?
The answer is obviously complex. No hand shaking, no hugging, no large venue entertainment, more masks, more temperature taking — the list of social implications is endless. …
I just finished reading “How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy,” edited by Daniel Kaufman, Massimo Pigliucci & Skye C Cleary. It’s a collection of informative essays by 15 philosophers who write about moral and ethical life issues and choices that are influenced by a wide range of differing, yet common, religions and philosophies.
During the late 1960s, I was in my middle teens. One memory that sticks out prominently comes from a visit to the downtown Army/Navy store — an amazing place loaded with military paraphernalia spilling out everywhere. On this particular day, I bought an authentic Army-green field jacket.
I drew multi-colored magic-marker peace signs of varied shapes and sizes all over it, down the sleeves and on its back side. Man, I felt so cool wearing that jacket. The 60s turned me into a peacenik, so this newly adorned jacket felt perfect. I wore it proudly.
The music, the protests, the drugs, the communes, the make-love-not-war consciousness — the overall hippie mindset that prevailed during that decade and stretched into the early 70s had a profound influence on my thinking and personality. …
How do you identify success? Is it determined by the magnitude of your possessions? To a certain degree, yes. After all, owning a nice, large-enough, comfortable home is a significant material possession, in and of itself, that can easily be considered a sign of success.
But is it really? In hindsight, some of the most productive and enjoyable times of my life were when I was a twenty-something living alone in a dumpy one-room studio with a small bathroom. I also lived in a beat-up van for about a month on a beautiful beach in Hawaii, where each morning I watched the sun come up with a cup of coffee, and each evening I watched it go down with a beer. …
The holiday breaks always bring more time for reading. This time around I went back and forth between four vastly different themes:
1. Growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood and adapting to a white-collar career.
2. Notions about spirituality and the cosmos.
3. Growing old.
The blue-collar/white-collar stuff came from Joan C. Williams’s “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America,” published in 2017, and from “Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams,” by Alfred Lubrano, published in 2003.
The spirituality and cosmos stuff came from three titles: “Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness,” by Evelyn Underhill, published in 1911; “Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Mind,” by Richard Maurice Bucke, first published in 1905; and “The Evidence for God: The Case for the Existence of the Spiritual Dimension,” by Keith Ward. …
Health apps are having an important impact on a wide swath of healthcare issues, trends, and strategies. They stretch across a wide range of capabilities, with claims to help monitor and improve sleep habits, improve cognition, manage medication, prevent falls, diagnose skin problems, check your vision, measure your hearing, monitor blood glucose, take your blood pressure, perform an EKG, help with weight loss and exercise, and chart your progress related to depression and anxiety issues.
Mental Health Apps
The apps related to mental health are becoming more widely available and acceptable, and they are seen as alternatives or add-ons to face-to-face therapy. An analysis of mental health apps published by Nature in December of 2019 noted that, in 2017, “more than 318,000 health-related mobile apps were available for consumers of which 490 unique apps were targeted at mental health and behavioral disorders.” …
These days and times are certainly confusing, with truth being twisted by an overabundance of legalese and unfounded conspiracy theories. Trying to cut through it all requires critical thinking skills. Sadly, there is a huge lack of critical thinking skills in our nation’s populace.
Our thinking deficit is clearly evident. We see it happening in two phrases that have grown rapidly in popularity worldwide: “fake news” and “alternative facts.” Essentially, the growing ubiquity of fake news and so-called alternative facts (facts cannot be alternative) is testing our ability to think critically. …
I might make this a regular annual end-of-the-year event for myself — this diatribe that helps get all the built-up frustration I’m experiencing out in the open.
There are several ad hominem attacks here, which is why I labeled it a warning. The idea was to make this a liberating, one-time-only experience and then move on to a better 2020.
Some wise person once said that people will either hate you, love you, or totally ignore you.
Let’s hope that things get better in 2020 because the last three years have been — What’s the word I’m looking for? — How about erroneous to be gentle? …
During my teenage years and into early adulthood, I would get severely depressed on New Year’s Eve because I never had a date to share it with. I wrongly thought of it as a defining aspect of myself as someone not worthy enough to enjoy another’s good company on such a special day of the year. When many of my friends celebrated that day at elaborate parties in the warm embraces of their significant others, I would stew alone. And when I was drinking age, I’d stew alone with a bottle until I crashed in a disgusting inebriated stupor.
Being alone on New Year’s Eve does not comport with the status quo which claims we are abnormal if not happily co-joined in some socially integrated celebration at the stroke of midnight. That’s one of the primary reasons why we may feel depressed on that particular day of the year, if we happen to be alone. …
I’m currently reading a very interesting book about the world of work, titled “Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams,” by Alfred Lubrano, first published in 2003.
Its premise is based on a term Lubrano came up with: “Straddlers.”
The Challenge that Comes with Upbringing
Straddlers are people who grew up in blue-collar, low-income, working-class neighborhoods and worked their way up to the middle or upper classes by getting employed in white-collar jobs, mostly by graduating from college. …