Tag Archives: NewYorker

On the New Yorker’s piece: Why Freud Survives

Freud
This piece, Why Freud Survives, is a great review of not just Freud’s legacy, but some of the people involved with Freud’s legacy since his death. I’ve read about it before: believe it or not, this is the short version of it. While long, the piece is well worth reading.

This section in particular gives some good context with regards to psychoanalysis in the context of psychiatry.

Since the third edition of the DSM, the emphasis has been on biological explanations for mental disorders, and this makes psychoanalysis look like a detour, or, as the historian of psychiatry Edward Shorter called it, a “hiatus.” But it wasn’t as though psychiatry was on solid medical ground when Freud came along. Nineteenth-century science of the mind was a Wild West show. Treatments included hypnosis, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, full-body massage, painkillers like morphine, rest cures, “fat” cures (excessive feeding), seclusion, “female castration,” and, of course, institutionalization. There was also serious interest in the paranormal. The most prevalent nineteenth-century psychiatric diagnoses, hysteria and neurasthenia, are not even recognized today. That wasn’t “bad” science. It was science. Some of it works; a lot of it does not. Psychoanalysis was not the first talk therapy, but it was the bridge from hypnosis to the kind of talk therapy we have today. It did not abuse the patient’s body, and if it was a quack treatment it was not much worse, and was arguably more humane, than a lot of what was being practiced. Nor did psychoanalysis put a halt to somatic psychiatry. During the first half of the twentieth century, all kinds of medical interventions for mental disorders were devised and put into practice. These included the administration of sedatives, notably chloral, which is addictive, and which was prescribed for Virginia Woolf, who suffered from major depression; insulin-induced comas; electroshock treatments; and lobotomies. Despite its frightful reputation, electroconvulsive therapy is an effective treatment for severe depression, but most of the other treatments in use before the age of psychopharmaceuticals were dead ends. Even today, in many cases, we are basically throwing chemicals at the brain and hoping for the best. Hit or miss is how a lot of progress is made. You can call it science or not.

Psychiatry has a long way to go. It will need better tools and better ways of understanding the brain and the mind. I think over time Freud will be seen the way Galen is: not so much relevant as influential and important in moving medicine forward.

(Image from link to Wikipedia)

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If you ever fantasized about owning a restaurant, especially one in New York…

Prune

Then you need to read this: The Thrill of Losing Money by Investing in a Manhattan Restaurant | The New Yorker

It is a wonderful read of a terrible experience.

Besides that, though, it is an entertaining but damning analysis of the restaurant business in cities like New York. (I imagine it is the same for most cities.)  I think at some point there will be fewer and fewer fine dining experiences in cities, and the best food will come from places that are small and have very low overhead. And all those large spaces that were once filled with large restaurants will close.

If you still want to own a restaurant after all that, don’t say you weren’t warned! 🙂

(Image is of Prune, one of my favourite NYC restaurants. If fine dining is to have a model in the future, it is likely to come more from places like this, imho.)

 

Why aren’t people responding to your email?!

The New Yorker has the answer: Sorry for the Delayed Response – The New Yorker. (I think it is meant to be humourous, but it’s a little too close to reality to make me wonder. :))

The decline of Peter Thiel – a marker

After reading these three profiles on Peter Thiel in the New Yorker:

1. From 2011: No Death, No Taxes – The New Yorker

2. From 2016, just after he spoke at the Republican Convention: Peter Thiel’s Conservative Vision – The New Yorker

3. From May 2016, How Peter Thiel’s Gawker Battle Could Open a War Against the Press – The New Yorker

What came to mind is the decline of his reputation in the last half decade. A decline he has brought on himself. Whatever you thought of him in 2011 — if you thought of him at all — you likely joined a majority by 2016 in thinking poorly of him.

I’m just putting this here for now. I am sure his reputation will decline further, and I want to revisit that when it happens.

On rose gold, white gold, and gold generally

There was a lot of scoffing when Apple recently released this

and claimed the colour was rose gold. It’s pink, was the common reply.  But as this piece shows ( The Semiotics of “Rose Gold” – The New Yorker), rose gold is a specific material. It refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. For that matter, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese, is also a specific material. Jewelers know this, of course, and Apple is smart to associate with the metal (gold) vs the colour.

The New Yorker piece is fascinating. Worth reading, especially if you are skeptical about the colour.

 

Why not a three day week? Something to consider on day two of your work week

This piece on the three day work week, Why Not a Three-Day Week? in The New Yorker explores the notion of working three and not five days a week and is well worth a read. But….

But….before you protest that you don’t work a five day week now, the better and more important question is: why do we have to work so much and so hard and why can we not have a lot more for a lot less? My own belief is that we are still shackled to a culture underlined by a Protestant work ethic and devoted to to a lower form of capitalism. We would lead better lives if our energies and our lives were devoted to more meaningful activities that addressed our higher needs, instead of tolling away to survive. The good/bad news is that even if we want to stay chained to this culture, we will not be able with the way mechanization and automation is proceeding. We need to start thinking about the way we work now, whether we want to or not.