Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Letter from a High School Student Who's Scared About College

Today, I start a series of PsychologyToday.com articles that present a letter that's a composite of complaints I've heard. After each, I offer my response.  

Today's letter comes from a high school senior who's scared about the cost of college and what to major in. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

In Praise of Seriousness

America is the land of upbeatness: Whether political candidates, workplace norms, or in social gatherings, upbeat and chipper are rewarded, seriousness and soberness denigrated--"Debbie Downer."

Much can be said in favor of being upbeat: Especially in challenging times, an optimistic view is usually welcome. And upbeat people make others and themselves feel good.

Who could argue against all that? I could, and do so in my PsychologyToday.com article today.

Could the Reduction in Good Jobs Actually Be Good for America?

Automation, dysgenic birth rates, high immigration rates of unskilled people,  the ballooning cost of hiring an American, and globalization will dramatically cut the number of good jobs in the U.S. 
As a result, most Americans will have to live much simpler, less materialistic lives. Some will rebel--e.g., violent revolution may be possible. Less aggressive people will replace the time they would have spent in paid work in volunteerism, relationships, and in creative output, e.g., writing, painting, singing, community theatre. 
Is it thus possible that quality of life, net, in the U.S. will be better as a result?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Negotiate with ISIS?

There's consensus that the only way to deal with ISIS is to bomb the hell out of them. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I propose adding another approach. 

Addressing Information Overload

So much information is available, curated, with just a one-second Google search.

You'd think having all that knowledge at our fingertips would make us feel more secure.

Yet it makes many people feel less secure and more overwhelmed. They suffer from data overload.

How might we be informed without feeling overwhelmed? In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer two options plus a way to make peace with our inevitably incomplete knowledge.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Finding a Career

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers an excerpt from a first career counseling session with a newly retired 50-year-old firefighter. (I've changed irrelevant details to protect his anonymity.)

Perhaps you might find the techniques I used with him to be useful to you or to someone you care about who's trying to choose a new career.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Is There Pure Good?

Even ISIS's horrific acts have a silver lining. They remind idealistic policymakers that one of their foundational assumptions is wrong: that everyone is well intentioned.

That dose of realism may ultimately improve policies so they better incorporate the full range of humankind's behavior.

So if even such base evil as ISIS has an upside, can there be pure good?

As a thought experiment I listed 10 things that, at first blush, strike me as a pure good. For each, I've tried to think of how even they aren't a pure good. To the extent I was able to do that, I strike a blow for relativism, for embracing the gray-areaness of most things and a blow against absolutist black-white thinking.

I've ended up concluding that six of the ten aren't pure goods. I describe my thinking about all of them in my PsychologyToday.com article today.

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