All posts filed under: mental health

Week 4 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: Disagreement

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: Disagreement As global migration increases, societies become more diverse.  Workplaces bring together equally skilled people who, nonetheless, have highly divergent opinions about all kinds of topics, including social issues, politics, education, culture, sexuality, and ethnicity.  Diversity increases disagreement. It’s ok to disagree with others – you have the right to choose your thoughts!  Holding your tongue when you disagree can make you resentful, feel taken advantage of, or become passive-aggressive. It’s ok to disagree with others but keep your opinion to yourself.  If you don’t know when to pick your battles, you might become frustrated, exhausted, and end up with a bad reputation. This week’s questions are designed to help you understand your reaction to disagreement.  By understanding your reaction, you gain the power to make a conscious choice about how to react in the future. The Questions:  Do you find yourself agreeing with mere opinions (not facts) even when you don’t agree?  …

Week 3 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Parent-Child Relationships

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: parent-child relationships I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. and If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. The author of the two preceding quotes is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian psychiatrist especially famous for relating all mental abnormalities back to idiosyncrasies in the parent-child relationship. I don’t know if I agree that the parent-child relationship is wholly defining of us, but it is surely fundamental to the people we become.   Human beings need parental figures for survival and social development. The first people you interacted with were probably your parents.  The parent-child relationship is an unavoidable source of tension but it can also be an irreplaceable source of joy. Knowing what you think about your parents can help you understand the source of disagreements.  It can also reveal the source of your expectations for other types of relationships.  Your ideas about …

Week 2 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Pleasure

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s journal questions are designed to help you own your P L E A S U R E. The ancient Greeks had a philosophy of pleasure, hedonism, which taught people to maximize the amount of pleasure in their lives.  What constitutes a pleasurable activity depends on each person, but pleasure is always associated with the positive emotions of joy, well-being, desire, liking, or enjoyment.  In other words, pleasure is about feeling good. Why is pleasure important to you? Pleasure is important for your mental, emotional, and physical health.  Pleasure-seeking is part of our biological evolution.  The inability to feel pleasure can sometimes be classed as a mental disorder called anhedonia. Not being able to experience pleasure is not usually an illness.  Sometimes it’s simply a result of being out of touch with knowing what gives you pleasure, or you may be repressed as a result of socialization. Women are socialized to believe that pleasure is …

2018’s Top Posts from Emily’s Everything

This year I wrote posts on a variety of topics, such as life, philosophy, travel, and health.  Some were much more popular than others and here are the top five by views! 1. My Post-vacation Blues Coming back from vacation is always difficult. Vacations are followed by periods of longing and dissatisfaction.  How do we reintegrate into real life and make it make sense? 2. My Favorite Tool to Break Free from Hopelessness & Depression I used to suffer from deep depression.  Then I realized that the brain gets better at whatever you make it practice.   I created a new habit to break the old habit of hopelessness.  You, too, can open up to enjoy life again. 3. Travel Blog: Food in Japan is too Perfect? Japan is an obsession for many people in awe of attention to detail in tech, food, products, culture, and politeness.  In a travel blog focusing on food, I explain why the charm of perfection wears thin. 4. Philosophy for Real Life: Theories of Truth You use the word truth, but don’t know …

Mating in the Modern Era: What are the New Fitness Indicators?

What is the best way to look after your evolutionary interests? In a two part blog about the ethics of sexual choice in the modern era, I’ll talk about you as the hunter and you as the prey! Human Evolution The progression of human evolution is a story about human beings selecting mates with features suggestive that the offspring will be a reproductive success.  Human beings subconsciously choose mates who show signs of physical health and mental ability in order to combine and reproduce evolutionarily desirable DNA.  The physical appearance of strong men and feminine women advertise the ability to produce, protect, and nurture the children. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s a biological imperative to admire and desire physical health and intelligence. Choose Adaptations for Modern Survival If we want to be smart about choosing a mate in the modern era, we should use this information wisely. After all, the threats to human beings have shifted drastically since the introduction of cities, the internet, and the five day work week.  No longer do we require …

Freedom & Curiosity: Rethinking the Strawsonian Pragmatic Argument for Free Will

 A short paper responding the the Strawsonian argument that can be interpreted from Peter Strawson’s paper, “Freedom & Resentment”. In Peter Strawson’s paper entitled “Freedom and Resentment”, the author provides evidence of a pragmatic argument to believe in free will, regardless of whether or not the thesis of determinism is true. Strawson builds a pragmatic argument for free will by explaining the connection between freedom, human psychology, and our humanity. Although I think Strawson provides a plausible pragmatic account of free will, I see a potential problem concerning the natural reactive attitudes he focuses on, especially resentment, which undermines his thesis. First, the natural reactive attitude of resentment that justifies participants’ place in a moral community actually undermines the relationships that Strawson suggests are essential for adult human life; Strawson uses interpersonal relationships as part of his justification for why we should accept the pragmatic argument for free will. Second, self-directed resentment is freedom denying; blaming oneself has psychological effects that undermine the freedom that Strawson wants to guarantee. I will briefly suggest an unlikely …

My Post-Vacation Blues

The post-vacation blues are a real thing.  It’s not just jet-lag, which I manage to avoid by timing my meals, staying very hydrated, using masks and headsets on the plane, and exercising to get my body back in the schedule.  Post-vacation blues are more difficult to manage because it’s a perspective that takes over.  Brain overstimulation in the form of sights, sounds, delicious foods, shopping, sunshine, and immersion in a new culture. I got back from an exciting two week vacation on Tuesday, just four days ago. At first I was really busy with work for my Pragmatism class at UBC, and then writing.  But today I had to go into my workplace and it struck me again: real life is, well… it’s just not vacation! 😦 It’s easy to idealize a foreign culture and way of life when you’re in a good mood and having fun.  So, what’s the cure to my post-vacation blues? Why can’t I love my “regular” life as much as vacation? Solution: Find the beauty in regular life.  Lucky that …

Travel Blog: Food in Japan is Too Perfect?

The first time you travel to Japan, you’ll be blown away by intricate handicrafts, perfectly folded origami, manicured gardens, clean streets, and meal sets. Indeed, this attention to detail shows high regard for quality and order, which the Japanese are now known for.  In my parents’ time, “Made In Japan” meant shoddy, but now “Made In Japan” is a mark of quality and innovation.  Today, I’m talking about “perfect” meal sets. Attention to detail is showcased especially the meal sets, even at casual restaurants. They are the stuff of an obsessive compulsive person’s dreams, each item delicately placed just-so, to ensure the best presentation of each small portion… one tomato sits gently on a single lettuce leaf, a few sheets of seaweed peek out of the ramen broth, and the slices of chaashuu pork are perfectly round, made of alternating ribbons of fat and meat. Even Japan Airlines economy class meals were served to us like this, complemented by a “Thank you for waiting. Here is your meal.”   Air Canada really has nothing on …

Travel Blog: Hong Kong Consumerism as an Identity

As I write, I am sitting in Hong Kong International Airport awaiting my flight to Narita from Hong Kong.  I knew my first post-Hong Kong blog post had to be about one thing: consumerism, and specifically consumerism of brand name products. That’s because one of the first things you’ll notice about Hong Kong is the prominence of high-end brand names: Atelier, Balenciaga, Chanel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Hermes, I.W.C., Jaeger-LeCoultre, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, to name just a few.  Pacific Place and IFC are just two of the places where you can literally find everything on a “high brand” shopping list.  It’s not just foreign brands that are popular, either.  On practically every street corner in Hong Kong you are almost guaranteed to see a beacon of bright red and gold – jewelry stores Chow Tai Fook, Luk Fook, and Chow Sang Sang.  No matter what direction you turn, there are opportunities to brand the most special moment of your marriage with their trademark. Is it just the mainland Chinese tourists that are driving …

Do we always need evidence for our beliefs? William James, “The Will to Believe” v.s. WK Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief”

These two articles begin an argument that is still pertinent to epistemology today! In his paper, “The Will To Believe”, William James potently responds to William Kingdon Clifford’s famous statement that, “it is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything on the basis of insufficient evidence.”  Clifford’s piece, called “The Ethics of Belief,”  was written in the 1876, and although Clifford does not explicitly direct his arguments to religion, the tone of the paper suggests that his target was religion and believers.  Clifford was a Christian-turned-mathematician and adopted strict scientific protocols to ensure hygiene of his beliefs.  James took heart in Christianity and it was an integral part of his mental life, having saved him from feelings of despair that overtook him during his study of psychology, especially after witnessing the suffering of an epileptic. Regarding the question of whether to believe in religious hypotheses especially, James wants to show that it is sometimes rational to believe in the absence of conclusive evidence. James draws attention to the point that Clifford and skeptics …