Showing posts from April, 2015

Ending downward spirals by replacing them with upward spirals

One of the most interesting aspects of the book The upward spiral by Alex Korb is thinking in terms of downward and upward spirals in human functioning. The concept of a spiral is based on what is called a positive feedback loop, a loop of cause and effect which continues and amplifies itself. A simple example of a positive feedback loop is a microphone which is held closely to a speaker. It will pick up the sound of the speaker and amplifies that again and again and again. The result is a shrill high tone. In human functioning these positive feedback loops can also happen in all kinds of ways. When the consequences of such positive feedback loops are negative we may speak of downward spirals; when they are positive of upward spirals. Such spirals can happen in many areas of life. I will give some examples.

The upward spiral: getting rid of your depression step by step

Neuroscientist Alex Korb has written an interesting book about depression called The upward spiral. A core idea in his book is that depression is not simply a state in which you feel badly but rather a downward spiral. What he means by this is that while you feel depressed you are inclined to do things which do not relieve your depression but maintain or aggravate it. Things such as physical activity, social contact, and thinking about happy memories, among other things, might help but are precisely the type of things which you are not inclined to do when you feel depressed. Because of this, it is easy to get stuck in a depressed mood.

Races don't exist

Nowadays we hear a lot about racism and how bad it is. Famous football players, in a UEFA campaign, are sending the message to say 'no' to racism. By using the word racism we refer to the underlying concept of race. Races, subspecies, exist throughout biology. We all understand, perhaps not precisely, but roughly what is meant when we talk about human races and racism. I say that we understand roughly what is meant, because we all associate the term race with concepts like the with race, the black race, the Jewish race, and the Asian race. I say that we do not know precisely what is meant, because we do not know exactly, for example, what makes someone a Jew, and whether Chinese people and Indian people belong to the same race. It also gets confusing when we think about the race of president Obama. Does he belong to the 'black' race? That is what is often said ("the first black president' of the United States) but what about the fact that his mother was '…

The harder we push, the worse it gets

Parents, teachers, and managers play an important role for respectively children, students, and employees. They not only have a facilitating, helping role but also a directing role. They pay attention, show understanding, they help and facilitate, they give a good example and they clarify expectations and set limits. When they fulfill their role effectively, the individuals they work with will be likely to function and develop well en feel good. These individuals are likely to engage in what they find interesting and important and to behave in well-adjusted ways and offer useful contributions.