MoveOn.self

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Malcolm Gladwell has an interesting newish article suggesting that 50 years of hyper-analyzing traumatic personal episodes has not made us any better at putting them behind us.

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  1. This is no more surprising than the discovery that a scab won’t heal if you keep picking at it.

  2. There was an even better article on this topic a while ago in (IIRC) the New Yorker. Unfortunately, I can’t find it now… It described how “grief counseling” and the like has become a huge industry; the second anything bad happens – earthquake, terrorist attack, etc. – the ghouls descend. Sadly, by their insistence they may make the subject thereof become true; the more you inculcate people to believe that they are mentally damaged and can never get better without your services, the more they will. The concept of getting over things is out of fashion – after all, who can make money off that? Of course, if you say these things, you’re attacked as unfeeling.

    I was going to write a longer, more individual section about personal experience and guilt, but I’ve decided to leave it out – suffice it to say that I believe that some things need to be dealt with on a philosophical level: some things should make you ask yourself what kind of person you are, and what the nature of the world is. But America has turned away from examination of this kind.

  3. This lack of personal introspection goes hand-in-hand with what I see as a major problem in society today – the lack of personal responsibility. This effects almost every level of society, where people look to others to solve every little situation they face.

    I’m not blaming those who would profit from this, I blame each individual. People seem to be all too willing to give up autonomy so that someone else can “fix” their problems, or at the very least, be sanitized from their own experiences.

  4. Lowdog-
    I didn’t get the impression that the article was about dealing with your faults, or problems you cause and therefore can solve, but about harping over bad things that happened long, long ago that people can’t or won’t get over. Christ, I know middle-aged people who would swear that their every personal failing and failure stemmed from the time that they were five years old and Mommy unfairly punished them for something they didn’t do.

  5. Sorry Jennifer, I didn’t RTFA, I was mainly just making an observation based more on what JD had written above.

    So take it for what it’s worth.

  6. This is no more surprising than the discovery that a scab won’t heal if you keep picking at it.

    Damn, Jennifer – that’s actually profound in this context.

  7. I’ve never understood how dwelling on a bad episode is supposed to help you get past it. Always seemed kind of contradictory to me.

  8. dwelling don’t work so well.

    pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t seem to work too well either, though.

  9. It described how “grief counseling” and the like has become a huge industry; the second anything bad happens – earthquake, terrorist attack, etc. – the ghouls descend.

    JD, I agree with you. If you follow the news, you may recall that after Boston beat the Yankees in the ALCS this year, a college student was killed during an inept attempt at crowd control by the police.

    One article mentioned that her college was bringing in grief counselors for all the students. I reiterate: her college was doing this. These were college students, not 7 year olds. And it wasn’t even for those who had witnessed this event; it was for everyone on campus, because apparently even tangentially being associated with someone to whom something bad happens is so traumatic that people think adults need to be swarmed over by the “ghouls.”

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