Health and Sanity category archive
Dr. Kenneth Krell is concerned that the current Supreme Court, packed with Trumpettes by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, poses a clear and present danger to physical health of the populace.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Dr. Dustin Ballard tells the story of a friend of his, whom he calls “Alice,” who got sucked into the cultish anti-vaxx world. In the process, he explores what attracts persons to and keeps them loyal to cults that feed on and ratify misinformation. Here’s a bit:
Our COVID era of uncertainty and isolation just doesn’t seem to be going away. Rates of anxiety, depression and substance abuse have skyrocketed. So, it’s no surprise that a kind of cult mentality might be serving many as a psychological safety blanket—like it has for Alice. She has a community of like-minded people cheering her on as she fights with her family and community about masks, vaccines, and whether COVID even exists. Not even her own mother’s illness swayed Alice—when she heard she was sick, she jumped in the car to deliver a supply of ivermectin.
I think his article casts some light on those among us who would deny the evidence of things seen.
One of the warning signs of disinformation just around the corner on the Disinformation Syperhighway is statements that begin with
Both in raw numbers and on a percentage basis, the United States has one of the worst responses to COVID-19. At Psychology Today Blogs, Clifford Lazarus looks at how disinformation, spread largely on the disinformation superhighway, has contributed to this and, indeed, has harmed to polity in general.
He makes three main points.
- Misinformation results in a dangerous erosion of trust because it makes it very hard for people to share a common set of agreed upon facts.
- Without trust in one another our country will fracture and fragment creating a vicious circle leading to the decay of our democracy.
- Misinformation is very deadly and highly “contagious.”
Follow the link for a detailed discussion of each.
University of South Florida Professor Murad Antia notes that, the United States had 12.5 times more deaths from COVID-19 than did Japan as a percentage of population. Indeed, he notes that Florida, with a population about one-fifth Japan’s, had more deaths than Japan.
He looks at some of the cultural issues which he suggests contributed to this. Here’s a snippet:
. . . daily life in Japan offers freedoms that can only be found in a society that places a high importance on the group as well as the individual. It is the freedom from the fear of being killed in a drive-by or a school shooting that gives the Japanese the freedom to relax and feel secure knowing that the great majority of citizens obey the rules.
Here, on the other hand, we have a lot more freedom to do as we like, with dire consequences sometimes. Americans seem to favor individual rights over collective rights. In times of collective crises like World War II, collective rights have taken precedence, but only temporarily. In a nation where “rugged individualism” is infused in its DNA, individual rights eventually take precedence. We witness it in debates over gun control, education, climate change and health care.
(Broken tag fixed.)
Jesse Robison, writing at the Idaho State Journal, considers the proposed? pending? Supreme Court decision the abrogating women’s rights to abortions. He notes several arguments against that decision, but I think this gets to the heart of the matter:
Men are the super majority on the Supreme Court and legislatures making these decisions that seek to control women’s bodies. If they had to bear the physical consequences of unwanted pregnancies, we would not be having this discussion.
It’s all about barefoot and pregnant, folks.
Follow the link for his other observations.
Conspiracy theories fly through the inner tubes about the current outbreak of avian flu in the Midwest.
Genevieve Grabman looks at the dismal state of health care for expectant mothers in the United States. It’s not a pretty picture. Here’s how she starts her article (emphasis added):
Despite its wealth, healthcare system, and global dominance, the United States can be a dangerous place for those, like me, with uteruses. Maternal mortality in the United States has increased steadily over the past thirty years, with 17.4 women dying for every 100,000 who had a live birth in 2018.
The irony is that, in our political landscape, the overlap between those who would
force women to have unwanted babies deny women control of their own bodies and those who would deny them more, better, and less expensive healthcare is–er–substantial.
Follow the link for the rest of Grabman’s article.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Daniel Bogard and Tana Senn argue forcefully that overturning Roe v. Wade violates the First Amendment’s provision that
Here’s the nub of their argument; follow the link for context.
When I was a young ‘un, I had both types of measles (and chicken pox). The rubella wasn’t so bad, but the rubeola–oh, never mind.
Plus, one of the memories etched in my brain from when I was about three–when you don’t really have memories, they’re more like snapshots–is of my parents in bed with the mumps, an illness much more serious in adults than in children. It was the sickest I ever saw them.
I would not will those days to come back, but I seem to have become an unwilling member of a society of stupid in which facts and science and knowledge no longer matter.
We are a failing state.
Writing at the Orlando Sentinel, Miles Zaremski argues that there is precedent for Justice (sic) Alito’s draft abortion decision. A snippet:
Alito’s writing eviscerates the autonomy and decision-making women have come to expect and rely upon for nearly half a century over managing their reproductive rights. To put this bluntly, the majority has taken away a well-grounded constitutional right. This is blasphemous and an example of warped legal thinking, on par with an equally infamous but disastrous high court decision in 1857, Dred Scott v. Sandford . . . .
Follow the link for his reasoning.
At the Portland Press-Herald, Victoria Hugo-Vidal, whose job involves dealing with health insurance companies, describes dealing with “customer service” robots.
If you’ve ever spent 45 minutes or an hour trying to get through to a real live human being, only to be disconnected (thank you, land line telephone company), you will be able to empathize with her. Here’s a bit.
I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to make my own voice as robotic as possible. I take deep breaths and empty my mind. I pretend that I, too, am a robot. Robots don’t care about being on hold for 25 minutes. Robots don’t think about how terrible our health care system is. Robot secretary has one goal: Retrieve numerical code that will enable patient to obtain vital test.
Kathryn Haydon suggests that too much tech–more specificallys, too much internet and “social” media–is hazardous to our mental processes. Here’s a bit of how she describes the problem:
For example, imagine you’re a graphic designer drafting a truly unique piece for a client. Perhaps you’re working in Adobe. You want to clarify a point so you jump to your internet browser. While online, you check in on the latest news. You may or may not go down a rabbit hole, but in that moment you’ve already taken your thinking level from maybe a 7 or 8 out of 10 to a 3 out of 10.
With alerts and apps and email and social media and calls and texts, we are subject to this type of mental whiplash day in and day out. A steady diet of lower-level thinking is hazardous to our thinking . . . .
Follow the link for her thoughts on how to keep “smart” stuff from dumbing us down.