Monday Miscellany: Resources, Reaching Out, (Base) Rates

1. I wrote about learning social skills and some sources I used. Luke commented with his list of resources.

2. Suicide and burdens.

One common therapeutic strategy here is to talk about how much the patient’s parents/friends/girlfriend/pet hamster love them, how heartbroken they would be if they killed themselves. In the absence of better alternatives, I have used this strategy. I have used it very grudgingly, and I’ve always felt dirty afterwards. It always feels like the worst sort of emotional blackmail. Not helping them want to live, just making them feel really guilty about dying. “Sure, you’re a burden if you live, but if you kill yourself, that would make you an even bigger burden!” A++ best psychiatrist.

There is something else I’ve never said, because it’s too deeply tied in with my own politics, and not something I would expect anybody else to understand.

And that is: humans don’t owe society anything. We were here first.

If my patient, the one with the brain damage, were back in the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness, in a nice tribe with Dunbar’s number of people, there would be no problem.

3. The first thing you should do with this article is Ctrl + F ‘Nazi’. This is not an article about Nazis, it is an article about effective altruism. *dusts hands* and that’s all I have to say about that.

4. These tops are delightful. Wheeeeeeeeee

5. Reaching out to friends with depression.

And then we go to lunch, as we have for 9 years or so, and we talk of other things, and I eat the sandwich of love and let it save my life. The thing is, we go to lunch when I am in a depression cycle, and we go to lunch when I am not, and we talk about my stuff AND her stuff AND mundane stuff during ALL of those times. I know that she would help me if I needed Capital H Help, and I know that she won’t leave me when my illness makes me hard to take, and I know that because she keeps showing up and she keeps inviting me in and because she talks to me like I’m Jennifer and not my illness or a project.

Time, attention, love, enjoyment > help.

6. McDonald’s and morality in practice.

7. Pretty much every article about understanding statistics and medicine makes me extremely nervous about ever getting tested for diseases.

Housekeeping note: this week I move to BOSTON where there is a boyfriend and a grad school and right now my brain is producing nothing but exclamation points. I’ll be blogging less and lifting and carrying and building things more.

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6 thoughts on “Monday Miscellany: Resources, Reaching Out, (Base) Rates

  1. I can’t believe that guy, whose life’s work seems to be philanthropy, would pen such a hostile and mean-spirited screed against effective altruism. A bunch of well-meaning nerds who are trying to bring rigor to their moral intuitions and take the fruits of that rigor seriously, and he makes them out to be some sort of spooky Nazi death cult led by a baby-killing animal-corpse-fucker from darkest Princeton? What the hell?

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