Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

How to Resist Our Age of Resentment (And Clinical Narcissism)

January 20, 2018

Toxic feelings of inadequacy are on the rise, fueled by social media, but there are ways to stay sane

How to Resist Our Age of Resentment

It’s the rare, hyper-evolved bird among us—a Buddhist bird, probably—who can wander the halls of social media without feeling the slightest twinge of resentment. There’s the couples’ trip to Paris that you weren’t invited to (even though you introduced them all!). The scholarship your child didn’t win (but he’s so precocious!). The big promotion you didn’t land…and that went to your less talented colleague. Things that could have, should have, been yours.

Resentment is a feeling of indignation in reaction to a real or perceived slight, a sense of insult or inadequacy caused by the actions, comments or simple existence of someone or something else. It’s the feeling that you’re not getting your fair share, while someone else is getting more than theirs.

Resentment has its benefits. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, with more than 2,300 subjects from around the world, found that short-term resentment may help to boost self-esteem, by allowing us to blame others for our problems.

But the benefits are short-lived. Resentment is, in fact, highly toxic. A 2011 clinical overview of the emotional and physiological effects of anger and resentment on the body, with contributions from several authors, showed that chronic bitterness can slow metabolism, immune system function and organ function. Some psychologists even believe that, left unchecked, resentment can turn into a condition known as “post-traumatic embitterment disorder,” which can manifest itself as anxiety, depression and fits of rage. (The diagnosis remains unofficial but has been discussed in the literature for more than a decade.)

Demographic and technological trends haven’t helped matters. According to a 2010 study published​in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, clinical narcissism among college students—which is defined by heightened feelings of entitlement, decreased morality and fierce competitiveness—increased by 30% from 1982 to 2006, when two out of every three measured high for the disorder. That age cohort is now social media’s prime group of users. They use the platforms to present a curated life that quite often shows only the most flattering bits, with the purpose of conveying, or implying, status and standing. You’re quite literally meant to resent their success, or their beauty, or their luck.

How to Resist Our Age of Resentment

The importance and visibility that social media have lent to social interaction also mean that adulthood now often resembles a high-school popularity contest. We broadcast our own social lives and resent when we’re excluded from the social lives of others. As the current saying goes, “If it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen.” And if it is on Instagram—and you weren’t there—it’s hard not to feel the slight.

We’re also a society that’s increasingly obsessed with wealth, and perhaps especially when friends rise above our own station. This too breeds resentment. Perhaps these are friends who don’t work as hard as you, or married into money they did not earn.

A 2005 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics analyzed data collected by the National Survey of Families and Households, representing approximately 10,000 people. The study found that “relative income”—that is, how much you feel that you earn in comparison to others—is more important in determining self-esteem than what you actually earn.

And those with compromised self-esteem are more likely to feel the effects of resentment. Whether it’s through social media or real life—whether they are strangers or friends—seeing others who are well off, even if they don’t flaunt it, can force those with less to confront their own thoughts about money.

For the past 80 years, researchers at the Harvard Study of Adult Development have looked at how Americans report their own happiness. It is the longest study ever conducted on the topic. They have found that it’s not money or fame, nor possessions or looks, that lead to happiness but, rather, strong relationships. Yet, when asked, most people, especially young people, believe that money or fame will make them happy.

In a TED talk, Robert Waldinger, the current director of the study, reported that 80% percent of millennials say that their life goal is to be rich. Fifty percent say that one of their goals is to be famous. Most, of course, will achieve neither. So is it any wonder that resentment is on the rise?

The resurgence of resentment has something to do, I suspect, with a very positive social development: female empowerment. As women become more diverse in their achievements, income levels and desires, there is more opportunity for them to wonder if they could be or have more—and to ask why they have fallen short. There’s more opportunity for women to resent those in their lives—men, other women or their own children—whom they may see as holding them back. Show me a professional woman who doesn’t feel resentful about coming home to a pile of dirty laundry, a hungry child, and a husband playing Xbox, and I’ll show you a magical unicorn.

We’re also kidding ourselves if we don’t cop to the resentment that working women can feel for stay-at-home moms, and vice versa. This might emerge in the context of money, and the material display of it: Does she have more than I do and where did she get it? Has she earned it? If not, where did she get it? Or it might emerge in the context of parenting: Does she think she’s a better mother because she stays home? Does she think she’s a better mother because she works?

The good news is that the fix for resentment lies entirely within yourself. It consists of learning to push resentment down—remembering that happiness is found in what you have and not what you don’t. At the very least, it means accepting that what you see of others’ lives isn’t always the entire story. It requires us to acknowledge that others can’t control our happiness or how we choose to live our lives, just as we can’t control how they choose to live theirs.

But we can control what we allow ourselves to see. If you find that Facebook or Instagram is making you upset, give yourself a break. If you can’t visit with friends without cringing inside over their good fortune, that’s a shame—but, again, give yourself a break. It’s hardly human nature to feel happy with what we have. In one sense, that’s a positive quality—it’s what keeps us moving forward.

But if your “wanting more” keeps coming back to the vacation or dress or career or life that you don’t have, turn your fixation into action. Complain less; do more. Refocus the desires. Reframe the perspective.

As the Harvard researchers concluded, the road to happiness is simple, if obvious: Happiness comes from choosing to be happy. Living without resentment is not always easy to achieve, but the power to resist its temptations is entirely in your own hands.

Appeared in the January 20, 2018, print edition.


Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here’s Exhibit A. (Tribal allegiances are replacing shared empirical understandings of the world.) — Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy

January 12, 2018


The New York Times
JAN. 11, 2018

Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker Credit Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

This week, a video surfaced of a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, which appeared to show him lauding members of a racist movement. The clip, which was pulled from a November event at Harvard put on by Spiked magazine, showed Mr. Pinker referring to “the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right” and calling them “internet savvy” and “media savvy.”

The clip went viral. The right celebrated; the left fumed. The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website ran an article headlined, in part, “Harvard Jew Professor Admits the Alt-Right Is Right About Everything.” A tweet of the video published by the self-described “Right-Wing Rabble-Rouser” Alex Witoslawski got hundreds of retweets, including one from the white-nationalist leader Richard Spencer.

“Steven Pinker has long been a darling of the white supremacist ‘alt-right,’” noted the lefty journalist Ben Norton. “And he returns the favor.” Others reacted to the rumor with simple exasperation: “Christ on a crutch,” said the liberal commentator and biologist PZ Myers, who also wrote a blog post denouncing Mr. Pinker for this supposed alliance.

The idea that Mr. Pinker, a liberal, Jewish psychology professor, is a fan of a racist, anti-Semitic online movement is absurd on its face, so it might be tempting to roll your eyes and dismiss this blowup as just another instance of social media doing what it does best: generating outrage.

But it’s actually a worthwhile episode to unpack, because it highlights a disturbing, worsening tendency in social media in which tribal allegiances are replacing shared empirical understandings of the world. Or maybe “subtribal” is the more precise, fitting term to use here. It’s one thing to say that left and right disagree on simple facts about the world — this sort of informational Balkanization has been going on for a while and long predates Twitter. What social media is doing is slicing the salami thinner and thinner, as it were, making it harder even for people who are otherwise in general ideological agreement to agree on basic facts about news events.

That’s because the pernicious social dynamics of these online spaces hammer home the idea that anyone who disagrees with you on any controversial subject, even a little bit, is incorrigibly dumb or evil or suspect. On a wide and expanding range of issues, there’s no such thing as good-faith disagreement.

The online anger aimed at Mr. Pinker provides a perfect case study.

The clip was deeply misleading. If you watch the whole eight-minute video from which it was culled, it’s clear that Mr. Pinker’s entire point is that the alt-right’s beliefs are false and illogical — but that the left needs to do a better job fighting against them.

The clip begins with Mr. Pinker saying he agrees with the other panelists (two journalists and a lawyer) that “political correctness has done an enormous amount of harm in the sliver of the population that might be — I wouldn’t want to say ‘persuadable,’ but certainly whose affiliation might be up for grabs.” This problem presents itself when it comes to “the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right: internet savvy, media savvy, who often are radicalized in that way, who ‘swallow the red pill,’ as the saying goes, the allusion from ‘The Matrix.’”

Mr. Pinker goes on to argue that when members of this group encounter, for the first time, ideas that he believes to be frowned upon or suppressed in liberal circles — that most suicide bombers are Muslim or that members of different racial groups commit crimes at different rates — they are “immediately infected with both the feeling of outrage that these truths are unsayable” and are provided with “no defense against taking them to what we might consider to be rather repellent conclusions.”

That’s unfortunate, Mr. Pinker argues, because while someone might use these facts to support bigoted views, that needn’t be the case, because “for each one of these facts, there are very powerful counterarguments for why they don’t license racism and sexism and anarcho-capitalism and so on.”

He then goes on to carefully explain those counterarguments: For example, while at the moment it’s true that, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the homicide rate is higher for blacks than for whites, that doesn’t really tell us anything about a group of people since at different times in history, different groups have had elevated crime rates — at one point Irish-Americans did. By that same token, he says, “the majority of domestic terrorism is committed by right-wing extremist groups,” not Muslims.

It would be impossible for a reasonable person to watch the eight-minute video and come away thinking Mr. Pinker’s point is to praise the alt-right rather than to make a psychological argument about political correctness, alt-right recruitment and how to better fight that movement’s bigoted ideas

Now, maybe you disagree with certain parts of this argument — I do, in that I think Mr. Pinker overstates the intensity of campus political correctness — but it’s hard to have that debate in the first place when such a wildly skewed version of Mr. Pinker’s point is spreading like wildfire on the internet.

Steven Pinker will be O.K. A fleeting Twitter blowup isn’t going to bruise his long and successful career as a public intellectual. But this is happening more and more — and in many cases to people who don’t have the standing and reputation he does.

It’s getting harder and harder to talk about anything controversial online without every single utterance of an opinion immediately being caricatured by opportunistic outrage-mongers, at which point everyone, afraid to be caught exposed in the skirmish that’s about to break out, rushes for the safety of their ideological battlements, where they can safely scream out their righteousness in unison. In this case: “Steven Pinker said the alt-right is good! But the alt-right is bad! We must defend this principle!”

This is making us dumber.

Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) is a contributing writer for New York magazine and is working on a book about why social-science ideas go viral.


How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy

iPhones and Children Are a Toxic Pair, Say Two Big Apple Investors

January 8, 2018

Two activist shareholders want Apple to develop tools and research effects on young people of smartphone overuse and addiction

Teens took a group selfie with a smartphone in New York’s Times Square on Dec. 1.
Teens took a group selfie with a smartphone in New York’s Times Square on Dec. 1. PHOTO: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

The iPhone has made Apple Inc. and Wall Street hundreds of billions of dollars. Now some big shareholders are asking at what cost, in an unusual campaign to make the company more socially responsible.

A leading activist investor and a pension fund are saying the smartphone maker needs to respond to what some see as a growing public-health crisis of youth phone addiction.

Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or Calstrs, which control about $2 billion of Apple shares, sent a letter to Apple on Saturday urging it to develop new software tools that would help parents control and limit phone use more easily and to study the impact of overuse on mental health.

The Apple push is a preamble to a new several-billion-dollar fund Jana is seeking to raise this year to target companies it believes can be better corporate citizens. It is the first instance of a big Wall Street activist seeking to profit from the kind of social-responsibility campaign typically associated with a small fringe of investors.

Adding splash, rock star Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, will be on an advisory board along with Sister Patricia A. Daly, a nun who successfully fought Exxon Mobil Corp. over environmental disclosures, and Robert Eccles, an expert on sustainable investing.

The Apple campaign would be unusual for an activist like Jana, which normally urges companies to make financial changes. But the investors believe that Apple’s highflying stock could be hurt in coming decades if it faces a backlash and that proactive moves could generate goodwill and keep consumers loyal to Apple brands.

“Apple can play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do,” the shareholders wrote in the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “There is a developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility.”

Obsessive teenage smartphone usage has sparked a debate among academics, parents and even the people who helped create the iPhone.

Two teenage boys use smartphones in Vail, Colo., in June 2017.
Two teenage boys use smartphones in Vail, Colo., in June 2017. PHOTO: ROBERT ALEXANDER/GETTY IMAGES

Some have raised concerns about increased rates in teen depression and suicide and worry that phones are replacing old-fashioned human interaction. It is part of a broader re-evaluation of the effects on society of technology companies such as Google and Inc. and social-media companies like Facebook Inc. and Snap chat owner Snap Inc., which are facing questions about their reach into everyday life.

Apple hasn’t offered any public guidance to parents on how to manage children’s smartphone use or taken a position on at what age they should begin using iPhones.

Apple and its rivals point to features that give parents some measure of control. Apple, for instance, gives parents the ability to choose which apps, content and services their children can access.

The basic idea behind socially responsible investing is that good corporate citizenship can also be good business. Big investors and banks, including TPG, UBS Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are making bets on socially responsible companies, boosting what they see as good actors and avoiding bad ones.

Big-name activists increasingly view bad environmental, social or governance policies as red flags. Jana plans to go further, putting its typical tools to work to drive change that may not immediately pay off.

Apple is an ambitious first target: The combined Jana-Calstrs stake is relatively small given Apple’s nearly $900 billion market value. Still, in recent years Apple has twice faced activists demanding it pare its cash holdings, and both times the company ceded some ground.

Chief Executive Tim Cook has led Apple’s efforts to be a more socially responsible company, for instance on environmental and immigration issues, and said in an interview with the New York Times last year that Apple has a “moral responsibility” to help the U.S. economy.

Apple has shown willingness to use software to address potentially negative consequences of phone usage. Amid rising concerns about distracted driving, the company last year updated its software with a “do not disturb while driving” feature, which enables the iPhone to detect when someone is behind the wheel and automatically silence notifications.

The iPhone is the backbone of a business that generated $48.35 billion in profit in fiscal 2017. It helped turn Apple into the world’s largest publicly listed company by market value, and anticipation of strong sales of its latest model, the iPhone X, helped its stock rise 50% in the past year. Apple phones made up 43% of U.S. smartphones in use in 2016, according to comScore , and an estimated 86 million Americans over age 13 own an iPhone.

Jana and Calstrs are working with Jean M. Twenge of San Diego State University, who chronicled the problem of what she has dubbed the “iGen” in a book that was previewed in a widely discussed article in the Atlantic magazine last fall, and with Michael Rich of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, known as “the mediatrician” for his work on the impact of media on children.

The investors believe both the content and the amount of time spent on phones need to be tailored to youths, and they are raising concern about the public-health effects of failing to act. They point to research from Ms. Twenge and others about a “growing body of evidence” of “unintentional negative side effects,” including studies showing concerns from teachers. That is one reason Calstrs was eager to support the campaign, according to the letter.

The group wants Apple to help find solutions to questions like what is optimal usage and to be at the forefront of the industry’s response—before regulators or consumers potentially force it to act.

The investors say Apple should make it easier and more intuitive for parents to set up usage limits, which could head off any future moves to proscribe smartphones.

The question is “How can we apply the same kind of public-health science to this that we do to, say, nutrition?” Dr. Rich said in an interview. “We aren’t going to tell you never go to Mickey D’s, but we are going to tell you what a Big Mac will do and what broccoli will do.”

Write to David Benoit at

Appeared in the January 8, 2018, print edition as ‘Investors Prod Apple On Child iPhone Use.’

Ad firms using tools to help them read your mind

December 24, 2017


© AFP / by John BIERS | Emily Safian-Demers, of French advertising company Ipsos, demonstrates an eye-tracking gadget used to mine consumers’ raw emotions for information

NEW YORK (AFP) – Why did you splurge on that new pair of shoes? Or that pricey smartphone? More and more advertisers are trying to tap into the unconscious to divine the invisible forces that drive those spending decisions.Using gadgets to track eye movements, computer maps of faces to capture a momentary grin (approval) or squinting (anger), and sensors to measure perspiration or monitor brain activity, companies are mining consumers’ raw emotions for information.

Traditionally, ad firms have measured the success of their campaigns through consumer surveys, but that technique has its limits.

“It’s not that people won’t tell you, they actually can’t tell you why they’re making the decision they’re making,” said Jessica Azoulay, vice president of the market intelligence practice at Isobar, a digital marketing agency.

The new techniques recognize that our purchase decisions are driven by both rational and emotional factors, and reflect research showing the brain takes in information on different levels.

They “enable us to capture many different types of emotions and to be able to profile the emotions that are happening very granularly on a second by second basis,” said Elissa Moses, chief executive of the neuro and behavioral science business at Ipsos, a consultancy and market research firm.

“People won’t be able to tell you that something irritated them in scene three or thrilled them in scene seven, but we’ll know from looking at the facial coding,” Moses said.

The technologies can help track if brands are maintaining their edge over competitors, and make ads more effective by determining what to highlight, for example whether to emphasize the distress of allergy symptoms or the relief of treatment when pitching medications.

And the techniques are being applied to other industries, such as retail, which is experimenting on ways to attract customers in the Amazon era.

“Ultimately there is a dance between the conscious and unconscious,” Moses said, noting that “in order to actually buy a product, you have to make a conscious decision.”

– Measuring in milliseconds –

Some of the techniques were first employed in the 1970s, but now are being more widely adopted as equipment has improved.

An eye tracking test uses technology-enhanced glasses with a camera to record what a person is seeing on a television or in a store and read how long the eye settles on a particular cue.

That can be combined with other methods, such as galvanic skin responses with sensors applied to a person’s hand to read perspiration, and electroencephalography (EEG) which reads brain activity through sensors on a person’s head.

The data is used to produce a “heat map” with yellow, orange or red “hotspots” that show where the person’s eye fixated.

Techniques measuring arousal can signal whether an ad stands out amid today’s media avalanche.

Other tests that are becoming more popular seek to shed light on unconscious associations with products or shopping needs.

Johnson & Johnson has tested thousands of consumers about Tylenol pain relief and other over-the-counter products, showing them quick-fire images or words that connote a particular emotion.

Responses are tracked to the tens of milliseconds, said Eric Dolan, associate director for global strategic insights at Johnson & Johnson.

The insights can help determine “whether we want to dig in and reinforce those emotional spaces,” or rethink the marketing to convey a different message, he said.

– Picking the pitch –

Tivity Health turned to many of these techniques for its “Silver Sneakers” fitness program for seniors, hiring Isobar to help it devise a marketing strategy based on a psychological profile of potential members.

Isobar had more than 1,000 seniors review a series of rapidly presented images and words about exercise. Based on their clicks, the report showed the population most valued exercise because it made them feel empowered or “ready to go.”

The finding was important as Tivity weighed potential marketing campaigns, including “Living Life Well,” which featured images of age-defying seniors, such as a grandfatherly figure balancing a toddler on his back while doing push-ups.

These ads performed better than an alternative campaign showing groups of smiling seniors together in swim class and in a gym which emphasized the social aspect of Silver Sneakers.

That campaign appeared to fall flat with seniors who view exercise as a means of staying independent, or who may be intimidated at the thought of immediately exercising in a group.

The results countered Tivity’s assumption that the social aspect of the program was the “key motivating driver for members,” said Elizabeth Rula, who directs research for Tivity Health. “We were a bit surprised.”

by John BIERS

Sex robots on way for elderly and lonely…but pleasure-bots have a dark side, warn experts

July 5, 2017

Gemma Chan plays a robot in Humans 

Gemma Chan plays a robot in Humans  CREDIT: CHANNEL 4


Sex robots could soon be used to keep the elderly company in care homes and help couples enjoy long distances sexual relationships, the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) has said.

There are currently four manufacturers making life-like robotic dolls worldwide, but experts predict that in coming decades they could become widespread, used not just as a fetish, but for sexual therapy and as companions for lonely, disabled or older people.

Engineer-inventor Douglas Hines adjusts the head of his company's "True Companion" sex robot, Roxxxy
Engineer-inventor Douglas Hines adjusts the head of his company’s “True Companion” sex robot, Roxxxy CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield, and co-founder of the FRR, said it was time for the government and the public to decide whether to regulate pleasure-bots.

 “I can tell you that robots are certainly coming,” he said at the launch of the new consultation report in central London.

“The concern is that this is going on nobody is talking about it. People snigger about them, but they are actually shipping quite a lot and we are going to see them a lot more.

“They are being proposed for the elderly in care homes, which I think is controversial. If you have severe Alzheimer’s you can’t really tell the difference.

“We need to think about as a society what we want to do about it.”

Imagine treating racism by letting a bigot abuse a brown robot. Would that work? Probably not
Patrick Lin, Philosophy professor and robot ethicist

The report found that up to two thirds of men and about 30 per cent of women were in favour of using sex robots, which currently cost between £4,000 and £12,000 and can be customised by sex, height, hair colour, eye colour and even personality.

Companies are also starting to incorporate artificial intelligence so robots can communicate and respond to human emotions.

Doll brothels already operate in South Korea, Japan and Spain, while the first robotic oral sex coffee shop opened in Paddington, west London, last year.

The report said that as robotics, telecommunications and virtual reality merged, sex dolls could be created which was silicon replica of a long-distance partner, so that couples could have virtual sex and even speak to each other through the doll’s mouth.

Gemma Chan in Humans 
Gemma Chan in Humans  CREDIT: CHANNEL 4

But the authors warned that the march of sex robots raised serious moral and ethical questions which needed to be addressed. They warned that users could become socially isolated or even addicted to the machines which could never replace real human contact.

“It’s very sad because it’s going to be a one way relationship,” said Prof Sharkey.

“If people bond with robots it’s very worrying. You are loving an artefact that can’t love you back, and the best they can do is fake it.”

The report also warned of a ‘darker’ side to the industry in which companies were programming ‘shy’ or ‘reluctant’ personalities into their dolls so that users could feel they were forcing the robots to have sex. TrueCompanion’s robot Roxxxy Gold, for example, can be set to ‘Frigid Farah.’

Japanese sex doll manufacturer Trottla has also started selling underage schoolgirl dolls for paedophiles. The company was created by a self-confessed paedophile Shin Takagi who claims he has never harmed a child because he uses the doll.

Although some experts claim such robots could prevent the rape of women, or the abuse of children, the report warns that it could exacerbate the problem.

Philosophy Professor and robot ethicist Patrick Lin of California Polytechnic said: “Treating paedophiles with robot sex-children is both a dubious and repulsive idea.

“Imagine treating racism by letting a bigot abuse a brown robot. Would that work? Probably not. The ethics of sex robots goes beyond whether anyone is physically harmed.”

The authors said it may be necessary to criminalise ‘robotic rape’ and to build in ‘handled roughly’ sensors like those used in pinball machines to prevent users developing violent sexual tendencies. And they called for a complete ban on child sex dolls.

Aimee van Wynsberghe, assistant professor of ethics at the University of Delft, and co founder of the FRR, said: “There isn’t a conversation happening in the general public about what is acceptable, permissible and what should be promoted.

“This is a preliminary step to engage policymakers, academics, the tech industry and the general public.”

The consultation report is on the FRR website where people are invited to comment on its findings. The panel hopes to make final recommendations next year.

The Foundation for Responsible Robotics operates from the Hague Institute for Global Justice at the Hague and run consultations on all areas of robotics. It has 200 members including some of the world’s most eminent robotics academics.


Japanese men happy with sex dolls — Physiotherapist plugs the void — Cheaper than a Lamborghini (Or a psychiatrist)

June 30, 2017


© AFP / by Alastair HIMMER | Physiotherapist Masayuki Ozaki takes a bath with his silicone sex doll Mayu, who sleeps with him in the home he shares with his wife and teenage daughter in Tokyo.

TOKYO (AFP) – When the spark went out of Masayuki Ozaki’s marriage, he found an unusual outlet to plug the romantic void — a silicone sex doll he swears is the love of his life.The life-size dummy, called Mayu, shares his bed under the same roof as Ozaki’s wife and teenage daughter in Tokyo, an arrangement that triggered angry rows before a delicate truce was finally declared.

“After my wife gave birth we stopped having sex and I felt a deep sense of loneliness,” the 45-year-old physiotherapist told AFP in an interview.

“But the moment I saw Mayu in the showroom, it was love at first sight,” blushed Ozaki, who takes his doll on dates in a wheelchair and dresses her in wigs, sexy clothes and jewellery.

“My wife was furious when I first brought Mayu home. These days she puts up with it, reluctantly,” he added.

“When my daughter realised it wasn’t a giant Barbie doll, she freaked out and said it was gross — but now she’s old enough to share Mayu’s clothes.”

Ozaki is one of an increasing number of Japanese men turning to rubber romance in a country that’s lost its mojo.

He also admits to being turned off by human relationships.

“Japanese women are cold-hearted,” he said while on a seaside stroll with his silicone squeeze.

“They’re very selfish. Men want someone to listen to them without grumbling when they get home from work,” Ozaki added.

“Whatever problems I have, Mayu is always there waiting for me. I love her to bits and want to be with her forever.

“I can’t imagine going back to a human being. I want to be buried with her and take her to heaven.”

– Removable head –

Around 2,000 of the life-like dolls — which cost from $6,000 and come with adjustable fingers, removable head and genitals — are sold each year in Japan, according to industry insiders.

“Technology has come a long way since those nasty inflatable dolls in the 1970s,” noted Hideo Tsuchiya, managing director of doll maker Orient Industry.

“They look incredibly real now and it feels like you’re touching human skin. More men are buying them because they feel they can actually communicate with the dolls,” he explained.

Popular with disabled customers and widowers, as well as mannequin fetishists, some men use dolls to avoid heartache.

“Human beings are so demanding,” insisted 62-year-old Senji Nakajima, who tenderly bathes his rubber girlfriend Saori, has framed photos of her on his wall and even takes her skiing and surfing.

“People always want something from you — like money or commitment,” he complained.

“My heart flutters when I come home to Saori,” added the married father-of-two as he picnicked with his plastic partner.

“She never betrays me, she makes my worries melt away.”

Nakajima’s relationship with Saori has divided his family, but the Tokyo-born businessman refuses to give her up.

“My son accepts it, my daughter can’t,” said Nakajima, whose wife has banned Saori from the family home.

“I’ll never date a real woman again — they’re heartless,” he insisted back at his cluttered Tokyo apartment, sandwiched between two dolls from previous dalliances and a headless rubber torso.

Reconciliation with his estranged wife is unlikely, admits Nakajima.

“I wouldn’t be able to take a bath with Saori, or snuggle up with her and watch TV,” he said, slipping the doll into some racy purple lingerie.

“I don’t want to destroy what I have with her.”

– ‘To me, she’s human’ –

While the pillow talk is decidedly one-way, Nakajima believes he has discovered true love, saying: “I’d never cheat on her, even with a prostitute, because to me she’s human.”

As Japan struggles with a plummeting birthrate, a growing number of men — known as ‘herbivores’ — are turning their backs on love and traditional masculine values for a quiet, uncompetitive life.

“In the future I think more and more guys will choose relationships with dolls,” said Yoshitaka Hyodo, whose home is an Aladdin’s Cave of dolls, kitsch toys and Japanese erotica.

“It’s less stress and they complain a lot less than women,” he added.

Hyodo, a military buff who lives alone but has an understanding girlfriend, owns more than 10 life-size dummies — many of which he dresses in combat uniform to play out wartime fantasies.

But he claims to have cut down on doll sex.

“It’s more about connecting on an emotional level for me now,” said the 43-year-old blogger, whose curiosity was piqued at a young age when he found a charred mannequin in the street.

“People might think I’m weird, but it’s no different than collecting sports cars. I don’t know how much I’ve spent but it’s cheaper than a Lamborghini,” he said.

Future doll users can expect more bang for their buck as researchers work to develop next-generation sexbots able to talk, laugh and even simulate an orgasm.

But for now, Ozaki’s long-suffering wife Riho tries hard to ignore the rubber temptress silently taunting her from her husband’s bedroom.

“I just get on with the housework,” she sniffed.

“I make the dinner, I clean, I do the washing. I choose sleep over sex.”

by Alastair HIMMER

Young people in the UK have some of the lowest levels of “mental wellbeing” — Psychology for Life Life Training is in Order?

February 8, 2017

BBC News

Young people
The study found widespread apprehension about the future. ISTOCK

Young people in the UK have some of the lowest levels of “mental wellbeing”, according to an international survey.

A study of the attitudes of 15- to 21-year-olds in 20 countries examined levels of optimism, confidence and a sense of being loved.

Japan was the only country lower than the UK on this wellbeing ranking, published by the Varkey Foundation education charity.

Only 15% of young people in the UK said they got enough sleep and exercise.

The study looked at the views and expectations of so-called Generation Z, born in the years around the new millennium, based on a survey of more than 20,000 people in countries including the UK, the United States. France, Germany, India, China and Argentina.

And it suggested that there was no clear link between material wellbeing and mental health.

Fearful for the future

While the UK was almost at the bottom of the rankings for wellbeing, along with countries such as Japan and South Korea, the top places were taken by young people in Indonesia, India and Nigeria.

South Korea, with a reputation for a fiercely pressurised education system, was the only country where young people actively disliked where they lived.

Young people across this global sample, including the UK, reported that they were more pessimistic than optimistic about the future.

Although young people in China and India both bucked these gloomy expectations – with their young anticipating a more positive future.

The perception of risk from extremism, terrorism and conflict was widespread – more so than worries about climate change or inequalities between rich and poor.

In the UK, extremism and terror was identified as the biggest single reason for being “fearful for the future”, followed by the threat of “conflict and war”.

There were big differences in attitudes towards the principle of free speech – and whether it should be protected even for views might offend.

Only about a third of young people in Nigeria supported the right to free speech, if it was likely to offend some ethnic groups or religious beliefs.

In contrast, more than two-thirds of young people in Argentina supported free speech, regardless of who it might antagonise.

But there was a common global trend for these young people to hold broadly liberal views on issues such as migration, religious tolerance, equal rights for men and women and acceptance of same-sex marriage.

“At a time of nationalist and populist movements that focus on the differences between people, the evidence shows that young people – whatever their nationality or religion – share a strikingly similar view of the world,” said Vikas Pota, chief executive of the Varkey Foundation.

“Teenagers in Nigeria, New Delhi and New York share many of same priorities, fears, ambitions and opinions.

“There is far more unity among young people than a glance at the headlines would suggest.

“Young people are passionate believers in the right to live the life that they choose, whatever their background, free of prejudice of all kinds.”

But Mr Pota said that this was also a generation that was “deeply pessimistic about the future of the world”.


Psychology for Life Life Training is in Order

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference.


The reason man has been interested in religion since the start of time is that religion is often very good for the human being…..

The single most often repeated message in the New Testament in “Do not be afraid.”

Human who have no belief in something greater than themselves are often more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, depression, suicide and a host of troubles….

Being a human being requires som brain and well being care…


Image may contain: 1 person, text

 Book: Serenity of Heart by Francis De Sales

“Nothing aggravates evil and hinders good so much as anxiety and worry.” — St. Francis De Sales


Maslow: The 12 Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person

November 26, 2016

By David Sze
The Huffington Post

July 21, 2015

Abraham Maslow is the leading figure in the tradition of humanistic psychology and the modern Positive Psychology movement owes a huge debt to his theories. His ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ remains widely recognized and used.

Nonetheless, the layperson knows surprisingly little about the pinnacle Maslow wants us to aspire to- Self-Actualization. Who is this Self-Actualized person, and what characteristics does s/he have? Maslow’s portrait is detailed and complex.


Maslow describes the good life as one directed towards self-actualization, the pinnacle need. Self-actualization occurs when you maximize your potential, doing the best that you are capable of doing. Maslow studied individuals whom he believed to be self-actualized, including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein, to derive the common characteristics of the self-actualized person. Here are a selection of the most important characteristics, from his book Motivation and Personality:

1) Self-actualized people embrace the unknown and the ambiguous.

They are not threatened or afraid of it; instead, they accept it, are comfortable with it and are often attracted by it. They do not cling to the familiar. Maslow quotes Einstein:

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”

2) They accept themselves, together with all their flaws.

She perceives herself as she is, and not as she would prefer herself to be. With a high level of self-acceptance, she lacks defensiveness, pose or artificiality. Eventually, shortcomings come to be seen not as shortcomings at all, but simply as neutral personal characteristics.

“They can accept their own human nature in the stoic style, with all its shortcomings, with all its discrepancies from the ideal image without feeling real concern […] One does not complain about water because it is wet, or about rocks because they are hard […] simply noting and observing what is the case, without either arguing the matter or demanding that it be otherwise.”

Nonetheless, while self-actualized people are accepting of shortcomings that are immutable, they do feel ashamed or regretful about changeable deficits and bad habits.

3) They prioritize and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

“[They] often [regard] as ends in themselves many experiences and activities that are, for other people, only means. Our subjects are somewhat more likely to appreciate for its own sake, and in an absolute way, the doing itself; they can often enjoy for its, own sake the getting to some place as well as the arriving. It is occasionally possible for them to make out of the most trivial and routine activity an intrinsically enjoyable game or dance or play.”

4) While they are inherently unconventional, they do not seek to shock or disturb.

Unlike the average rebel, the self-actualized person recognizes:

“… the world of people in which he lives could not understand or accept [his unconventionality], and since he has no wish to hurt them or to fight with them over every triviality, he will go through the ceremonies and rituals of convention with a good-humored shrug and with the best possible grace [… Self-actualized people would] usually behave in a conventional fashion simply because no great issues are involved or because they know people will be hurt or embarrassed by any other kind of behavior.”

5) They are motivated by growth, not by the satisfaction of needs.
While most people are still struggling in the lower rungs of the ‘Hierarchy of Needs,’ the self-actualized person is focused on personal growth.

“Our subjects no longer strive in the ordinary sense, but rather develop. They attempt to grow to perfection and to develop more and more fully in their own style. The motivation of ordinary men is a striving for the basic need gratifications that they lack.”

6) Self-actualized people have purpose.

“[They have] some mission in life, some task to fulfill, some problem outside themselves which enlists much of their energies. […] This is not necessarily a task that they would prefer or choose for themselves; it may be a task that they feel is their responsibility, duty, or obligation. […] In general these tasks are nonpersonal or unselfish, concerned rather with the good of mankind in general.”

7) They are not troubled by the small things.

Instead, they focus on the bigger picture.

“They seem never to get so close to the trees that they fail to see the forest. They work within a framework of values that are broad and not petty, universal and not local, and in terms of a century rather than the moment.[…] This impression of being above small things […] seems to impart a certain serenity and lack of worry over immediate concerns that make life easier not only for themselves but for all who are associated with them.”

8) Self-actualized people are grateful.
They do not take their blessings for granted, and by doing so, maintain a fresh sense of wonder towards the universe.

“Self-actualizing people have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naïvely, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others […] Thus for such a person, any sunset may be as beautiful as the first one, any flower may be of breath-taking loveliness, even after he has seen a million flowers. […] For such people, even the casual workaday, moment-to-moment business of living can be thrilling.”

9) They share deep relationships with a few, but also feel identification and affection towards the entire human race.

“Self-actualizing people have deeper and more profound interpersonal relations than any other adults […] They are capable of more fusion, greater love, more perfect identification, more obliteration of the ego boundaries than other people would consider possible. […This devotion] exists side by side with a widespreading […] benevolence, affection, and friendliness. These people tend to be kind [and friendly] to almost everyone […] of suitable character regardless of class, education, political belief, race, or color.”

10) Self-actualized people are humble.

“They are all quite well aware of how little they know in comparison with what could be known and what is known by others. Because of this it is possible for them without pose to be honestly respectful and even humble before people who can teach them something.”

11) Self-actualized people resist enculturation.
They do not allow themselves to be passively molded by culture — they deliberate and make their own decisions, selecting what they see as good, and rejecting what they see as bad. They neither accept all, like a sheep, nor reject all, like the average rebel. Self-actualized people:

“make up their own minds, come to their own decisions, are self-starters, are responsible for themselves and their own destinies. […] too many people do not make up their own minds, but have their minds made up for them by salesmen, advertisers, parents, propagandists, TV, newspapers and so on.”

Because of their self-decision, self-actualized people have codes of ethics that are individualized and autonomous rather than being dictated by society.

“They are the most ethical of people even though their ethics are not necessarily the same as those of the people around them […because] the ordinary ethical behavior of the average person is largely conventional behavior rather than truly ethical behavior.”

12) Despite all this, self-actualized people are not perfect.

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. […] And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

This article is part of a series about the Science Behind Well-being. For more, visit David’s website, Living Meanings.

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte mental health assessment reveals tendency to ‘violate rights and feelings’ — “Antisocial narcissistic personality disorder”

October 13, 2016


“He will have to be removed so doctors can treat his mental illness.”

His illness makes him able to kill Filipinos without guilt

Experts believe leader engages in ‘unhealthy and destructive behaviours’

By Gabriel Samuels


Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has launched a brutal ‘war on drugs’ in which thousands have been killed AFP/Getty Images

The president of the Philippines is a “highly impulsive individual who has difficulty controlling his urges and emotions” and suffers from a long-term psychological condition, according to a rediscovered assessment of his mental health.

A psychological report on Rodrigo Duterte was commissioned by Dr Natividad Dayan during the annulment of his marriage to ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman in July 1998, when Mr Duterte was mayor of Davao City.

The assessment found Mr Duterte suffered from “antisocial narcissistic personality disorder”, a pattern of abnormal behaviour characterised by “gross indifference, insensitivity and self-centeredness” and “grandiose sense of self-entitlement and manipulative behaviours”.

The politician was described as having a “pervasive tendency to demean, humiliate others and violate their rights and feelings”, and was “unable to reflect on the consequences of his actions.”

He was found to readily engage in “unhealthy and destructive behaviours” and had “poor capacity for objective judgement”, failing to “see things in the light of facts”.

Mr Duterte recently made headlines for launching expletive-laden attacks against the EU and US president Barack Obama, as thousands continue to be killed without trial as part of the leader’s war on illegal drugs.

Court papers from the trial showed Dr Dayan concluded Mr Duterte was “psychologically incapacitated to handle essential marital obligations”, due to his “inability for loyalty and commitment” and “lack of capacity for remorse and guilt”.

During the court case, lawyers also spoke of Mr Duterte’s “womanising” ways and detailed claims of numerous affairs he was involved in while married to Ms Zimmerman.

In her testimony, Ms Zimmerman described her marriage to Duterte as “miserable and unhappy” and criticised his volatile temper, according to ABS-CBN News.

Filipino actress Agot Isidro recently launched an angry online tirade against Mr Duterte, describing him as a “psychopath” and telling him to “get checked”.

More than 3,600 people have been killed in Mr Duterte’s first 100 days in office as part of his brutal crackdown on drugs, human rights experts have estimated.

The president recently said his extrajudicial crackdown on drug dealers and criminals will continue because he “cannot kill them all”.

Amnesty International said Mr Duterte’s “first 100 days as President have been marked by state-sanctioned violence on a truly shocking scale.”

Our Filipino doctor friend said to Peace and Freedom, “He will have to be removed so doctors can treat his mental illness.”


 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)


President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial



 (These people understand human rights)

 (These people understand human rights)

 (This shows a lack of understanding of human rights)

 (Even though China has no legal right to be there…)

Analysis of UN Speeches Last Week Shows Rise in Uncertainty, Fear — Language of “anxiety words” on the rise globally, which is not good for mental health

September 25, 2016

Words like “fear” and “uncertainty” are more common than last year amid competing global crises