Category Archives: ARTICLES & THOUGHTS

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

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Following up on so many discussions about justice and healing is this painful and violent world, in relation with two workshops on consent in hacker culture (THF 2016, Montreal), this article is a deep proposition to care for emotions , nurture ourself and each other and develop emotional  intelligence in order to heal from rape culture. Lacking skills about consent is something that touch all of us, but even more those who were educated in a culture where emotions are not welcome, not valued or not understood. Emotional intelligence can be developed, along with communication skills and we all need it, so much. Nora Samaran wrote this text about a year ago, and I keep looking at it, as a way forward, as a healing path.

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

 

“Create something new” – Nafeez Ahmed on making a difference

“We are, therefore, in the midst of a momentous civilisational transition, the outcomes of which are not set in stone. In this context, the chronically bad news we see everyday is not just bad news: it also signals the inevitable decline of a particular way of being in the world. But this also opens up, here and now, opportunities to forge what comes after.

Within the very accelerating failure of the present paradigm, the opportunity to explore and build new paradigms that work also accelerates.

So what can we do? What can you, as one person do?

Here’s, roughly, what I tell people when they ask me this, based on my own limited experience and efforts.”

>> How to change the world in 3 easy steps, by Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist, founder of Insurge Intelligence

An End to Self-Care, B. Loewe

“I’m going to say it. I want to see an end to “self-care.” Can we put a nail in self-care’s coffin and instead birth a newer discussion of community care?

As I most often hear it, self-care stands as an importation of middle-class values of leisure that’s blind to the dynamics of working class (or even family) life, inherently rejects collective responsibility for each other’s well-being, misses power dynamics in our lives, and attempts to serve as a replacement for a politics and practice of desire that could actually ignite our hearts with a fuel to work endlessly.

Talking about how we sustain ourselves, honor our personal needs, and prioritize our well-being in this brusque and brutal world is a huge advance from movement culture generations before.  However, centering that conversation on ‘self-care’ devoid of our place in the collective misses the central point of why we need to care for ourselves. And that is because we must have all of our strength in place to counter the systems which, without our ability to resist and transform, without the self-preservation Audre Lorde describes, would see us destroyed.”

>> Continue reading  An End to Self-Care, by B. Loewe, and visit Organizing Upgrade for more thoughts on the subject and community care resources

Captain Paul Watson doesn’t do Stress

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Sea Sheperd Captain Paul Watson who knows a thing or two about about stress shares his insights and tips :

“I am often asked how I deal with stress considering I’m wanted by Japan and Costa Rica, I have a price on my head from the shark fin mafia of Costa Rica, we have numerous ships on the sea in dangerous campaigns, I am being sued, threatened and harassed continuously and I have a lot of enemies, critics and people who wish me harm.

The answer to this is simple. I don’t deal with stress, because I do not suffer from stress. And these are ten primary reasons why, and for anyone suffering from anxiety, worry or stress, I would like to offer this advice.”

Continue reading “Dealing with that Killer called Stress”, by Paul Watson

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Alan, the Monkey in your Mind

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Thoughts on the restless mind (a.k.a “monkey mind” ), exhaustion from over-thinking, and simple breathing exercise to help drop the bananas, here in this article on Zentacles.

“You’ve got a monkey in your brain. Let’s call him Alan.

Alan is like most normal monkeys. He swings about from tree to tree, he loooooves bananas, and in all likelihood he will never stay in one place for longer than a few minutes. Now let’s say you have something you need to tell Alan – you get him down from whichever tree you find him in, you sit him down on a chair, and you start talking to him. Only before you’ve even finished your sentence, to your dismay, Alan is off back up the tree. You try a few more times, and Alan very helpfully sits there for a number of seconds whilst you try and get your words out. But the same pattern continues, and in the end you give up.”

On regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of autumn

Grimshaw-John-Autumn-Sun

“The three months of autumn,

they denote taking in and balance

The Qi of heaven becomes tense *

The Qi of the earth becomes bright.

Go to rest early and rise early,

get up together with the chicken.

Let the mind be peaceful and tranquil, so as

to temper the punishment carried out in autumn**.

Collect the spirit Qi and

cause the autumn Qi to be balanced.

Do not direct your mind to the outside and

cause the lung Qi to be clear.

This is the correspondence with the Qi of autumn and

it is the way to nourish gathering.

Opposing it harms the lung.

In winter this causes outflow of undigested food and

there is little to support storage. ***”

*Wang Bing: Wind blows with a cutting sound

** Violent storms in autumn appeared like a punishment. This was also the season, in ancient China, to perform executions of criminals sentenced to capital punishment. Wang Bing: When the mental Qi is hectic, one is not careful in their activities. If one is not careful in their activities, one accentuate the severity of autumn punishments, goes along with killing, and destroys life. Hence, one establishes a peaceful and tranquil mind to soften the punishments carried out in autumn.

*** Wang Bing: It is to say: to carry out the orders of summer in contrast [to the requirements of autumn]. The lung corresponds to metal and flourishes in autumn. Hence, to carry out [in autumn] the orders of summer, this harms the Qi. In winter the water flourishes and the metal perishes. Hence, the disease develops in winter. If one opposes the [orders of] autumn and harms the lung, this results in diminished Qi [with a reduced ability] to receive the storage in winter.

Comprehensive discourse on regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of the four seasons,  in Huang Di nei jing su wen, annotated translation, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow, University of California

Painting: John Grimshaw, Autumn Sun

JOY (Victor Serge)

Russian revolutionary Victor Serge on JOY in his book MEN in PRISON

“The only healthy reaction of the organism against the incessant, multiple, insidious, and harassing pressure of madness is joy. We all have great powers of vitality. We are filled with such deep love of life that sometimes it takes only the slightest outside impulse to make the flame of joy suddenly rise up in us. And we are elevated above ourselves, the present, despair, prison.”

 

Barrett Brown’s Temazcal experience

In his article on The Intercept, unjustly imprisoned US journalist and activist Barrett Brown relates his experience of joining Lakota Indians inmates friends for a Temazcal / sweat lodge ceremony, from building the bonfire to sweating and singing together inside the hut. Temazcal are powerful collective physical and spiritual healing ceremonies practised by native Americans, with strong emphasis on the natural elements, fire, water, air, earth.

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Recommended: More Barrett Brown Prison Writing

Donate, Write, Send a book : HELP Barrett Brown HERE 

” In the meantime, I continue to have neat adventures. Last month one of the American Indian inmates invited me to attend their weekly sweat lodge ceremony, which is held in a fenced-off area that each federal prison is required to provide for ritual use by the Natives. The next morning I showed up at the appointed time and, having determined that it wasn’t an ambush, I began helping the 20 or so resident Indians break up tree branches for fire kindling, something I did very much with the air of a five-year-old who believes himself to be “helping Daddy.” Next we built a large bonfire (I assisted by staying out the way and being good) by which to heat up several dozen large rocks that would be used for “the sweat.” The fire-making process was expedited by strategically placed crumpled-up sheets of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which I gather is not a strictly traditional aspect of most shamanistic ceremonies. As if to acknowledge this, one of the Indians declared, “The one good thing the white man ever did was invent paper.” Naturally all eyes were on me, and I knew that this might be my only chance to win them over. “We didn’t invent it,” I blurted out. “We just stole it from the Chinese.” This produced appreciative chuckles all around. “I got a laugh out of the Indians!” I thought exultantly, my triumph so complete that I was unbothered by the fact that what I’d said wasn’t really true.

By and by we crawled into the lodge, a wood-and-canvas structure with a dirt floor, in the middle of which had been dug a pit to hold the heated rocks that would be providing the extraordinary heat we would need to sweat out our sins. The flap was then closed from the outside, leaving us in perfect darkness, and thereafter began the first of the 15-minute “rounds” of the sweat ceremony, which consisted of all manner of tribal songs, entreaties to the spirits, and sometimes just discussions and announcements. At one point my sponsor, a Lakota, declared that although superficially white, I might nonetheless have an “Indian spirit.” It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever said about me, this polite supposition that I might not really be descended from the fair-skinned race of marauding, treaty-breaking slavers whose Novus Ordo Seclorum had been built on a foundation of genocide. But insomuch as I’d spent the bulk of the ceremony not in prayer, but rather in a state of neurotic concern over whether or not my self-deprecating comment from an hour earlier about whites stealing paper could have perhaps been a bit more crisply phrased, I’m afraid my spirit would seem to be Anglo-Saxon after all.

Although undeniably majestic, the ceremony was also something of a disappointment. I had gone into the thing hoping that I might mysteriously know exactly what to do — how to pass the peace pipe and all that — and maybe even start singing old Cherokee songs that the eldest of those present would barely recall having heard from their own grandfathers. Stunned, the Indians would collectively intone, “He shall know your ways as if born to them,” this being the ancient prophecy I had thereby fulfilled, and then I would unite the tribes under my banner and lead the foremost of their warriors on a jihad against our shared enemies, as Paul Muad’Dib did. Instead, the Indians had to remind me several times not to just stand up and start walking around during the ceremony.”

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So, Marriage and Love, Emma Goldman (1910)

Marriage and Love, Emma Goldman (audiobook here)

“THE popular notion about marriage and love is that they are synonymous, that they spring from the same motives, and cover the same human needs. Like most popular notions this also rests not on actual facts, but on superstition.

Marriage and love have nothing in common; they are as far apart as the poles; are, in fact, antagonistic to each other. No doubt some marriages have been the result of love. Not, however, because love could assert itself only in marriage; much rather is it because few people can completely outgrow a convention. There are to-day large numbers of men and women to whom marriage is naught but a farce, but who submit to it for the sake of public opinion. At any rate, while it is true that some marriages are based on love, and while it is equally true that in some cases love continues in married life, I maintain that it does so regardless of marriage, and not because of it.”

Depression in gifted individuals

This article explores depression in gifted individuals and offers suggestions on how to help, notably through touch, a powerful sensory response to emotional difficulties, and bibliotherapy, where reading about history and others people’s great struggles and achievements can bring support.

>> Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals, James T. Webb

“A particular way of breaking through the sense of isolation is through touch. In the same way that infants need to be held and touched, so do persons who are experiencing existential aloneness. Touch seems to be a fundamental and instinctual aspect of existence, as evidenced by mother-infant bonding or “failure to thrive” syndrome. Often, I have “prescribed” daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, “I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug.” A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a “high five” can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.” 

“Wellness” can’t do what we won’t do for ourselves

“Despite the endless column inches devoted to how we can find balance in our busy working lives, the solution here isn’t personal, it’s political. Those of us working in the health and wellbeing industries have had our skills hijacked by commercial interests. Employee Assistance Programs, corporate stress management training and the burgeoning multi-billion dollar wellness industry all trade on, support and are supported by the culture of overwork. If we are truly committed to wellbeing, we need to remember who our clients are meant to be and be willing to risk acting in their best interests.

No amount of multivitamins, yoga, meditation, sweaty exercise, superfoods or extreme time management, as brilliant as all these things can be, is going to save us from the effects of too much work. This is not something we can adapt to. Not something we need to adjust the rest of our lives around. It is not possible and it’s unethical to pretend otherwise. Like a low-flying plane, the insidious culture of overwork is deafening and the only way we can really feel better is if we can find a way to make it stop.”

>> No it’s not you: Why “wellness” isn’t the answer to overwork, Zoe Krupka, the Conversation

24/7 : Late capitalism and the end of sleep

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>> 24/7: Late Capitalism and the end of sleep, by Jonathan Crary (a Verso Book)

“24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance. He describes the ongoing management of individual attentiveness and the impairment of perception within the compulsory routines of contemporary technological culture. At the same time, he shows that human sleep, as a restorative withdrawal that is intrinsically incompatible with 24/7 capitalism, points to other more formidable and collective refusals of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation.”

On Compassion fatigue

Here is a nice (and somewhat soothing) article on a subject that is maybe not discussed enough among caregivers, or not discussed with the right approach ? The author calls it “Compassion fatigue”. Exhaustion from caring. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or not. Caring. Sometimes a very special kind of fatigue sets in, hard to describe. Sleep doesn’t even seem to heal it sometimes. The author notes that, contrary to what most people think and ask all the time, “protecting” oneself from the emotions of the person we’re helping, or setting boundaries between them and you not only doesn’t make sense, it is impossible, and absurd to even want to try, like a dead end. So how then, to recuperate ? What self-care for caregivers ?

>> Compassion and Compassion fatigue: balancing your emotions in the treatment room, Tracy Walton, Massage today

Absolutely right

Whistleblowers have a human right to a Public Interest Defense, and hacktivists do too, writes Carey Shenkman, first amendment, human rights lawyer, in HuffingtonPost.

“The United States’ war on transparency is making it an outlier in the international community. Just this week, a high-level European human rights body “urged” the United States to allow NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to return home and be given a meaningful chance to defend himself.

International human rights law has been clear for decades: anyone engaged in exposing gross abuses through whistleblowing and publishing is entitled to protection. Yet, the Obama administration has waged war on transparency, prosecuting more people for disclosing information to the press than Richard Nixon and all other U.S. presidents combined.

Not a single one of those prosecuted has been allowed to argue that their actions served the public good. Chelsea Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, exposed human rights abuses worldwide and opened an unprecedented window into global politics. Her disclosures are to this day cited regularly by the media and courts. Thomas Drake exposed massive NSA waste, while John Kiriakou exposed waterboarding later admitted to be torture in the recent Senate CIA Torture Report. The story of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of widespread NSA surveillance recently won an Oscar.

Whistleblowers cannot argue that their actions had positive effects, known as a “public interest defense.” The United States treats disclosures to the press as acts of spying — no matter what good they lead to. In response, European and international human rights bodies are urging the United States to adopt better protections for whistleblowers.

These protections should apply not only to insiders who blow the whistle, but also to other transparency advocates such as hacktivists. A public interest defense should have been available to Aaron Swartz, the Creative Commons creator and Reddit co-founder who tragically committed suicide following an overzealous government prosecution. His crime? Trying to make academic articles accessible to the public.

The defense could have helped Jeremy Hammond, who in 2013 was convicted for “computer trespass” and sentenced to 10 years for exposing that the private intelligence firm Stratfor spied on human rights activists. The Justice Department tried to cast Hammond as a cybercriminal. But Hammond’s supporters, which include human rights organizations and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, recognized that he was motivated to expose government and corporate surveillance.

In guaranteeing a fair trial for information disclosures, the United States lags behind other jurisdictions, including Canada, Denmark and Germany. Canada’s Security of Information Act offers a public interest defense, as does the Danish Criminal Code on disclosing state secrets. The defenses are not airtight, but they are better than nothing. For hacktivists, at least one German court has defended a digital sit-in as political speech, acknowledging that ‘hacker’ does not equal ‘cybercriminal.’

International norms support the human right to a public interest defense. The UN Human Rights Committee, interpreting the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the world’s farthest-reaching human rights treaty, noted that governments must take “extreme care” to ensure that laws relating to national security are not invoked “to suppress or withhold from the public information of legitimate public interest.”

Additionally, the Johannesburg Principles, adopted since 1995 by international legal experts, stipulate that “No person may be punished on national security grounds for disclosure of information if . . . the public interest in knowing the information outweighs the harm from disclosure.” This principle was reiterated in 2013 in the Tshwane Principles–agreed upon by UN experts, civil society and practitioners around the world. The Tshwane framework outlined in detail specific categories of disclosures, like corruption and human rights abuses, that should be protected.

Finally, the European Court of Human Rights, Europe’s high human rights court, has provided for whistleblower protection on numerous occasions. For instance, in Guja v. Moldova, the court protected as a matter of free speech a whistleblower’s right to disclose wrongdoing committed by a public prosecutor. In reaching its decision, the court weighed the perceived damage suffered by the public authorities against the public interest of the information revealed.

This week’s statements from the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe follow a tradition of long-standing norms which consistently support the right to a public interest defense in information disclosures. None of these norms depend on the defendant being a government whistleblower; they can certainly protect hacktivists as well.

The free flow of information is necessary for a democratic society, and this flow cannot be purely in the hands of government. This is why the rights to expression and a free and open press are among the most widely recognized rights on earth. When those exposing wrongdoing cannot even defend themselves in court, this is ultimately a failure of the rule of law. It means that even judges cannot challenge the basis for government secrecy, undermining the basic tenets of democratic society.”

On touch isolation in homophobic culture

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“Homophobic social stigmas, the long-standing challenges of rampant sexual abuse, and a society steeped in a generations old puritanical mistrust of physical pleasure have created an isolating trap in which American men can go for days or weeks at a time without touching another human being. The implications of touch isolation for men’s health and happiness are huge.”

>> Touch isolation: How homophobia has robbed all men of touch (Mark Greene)

 

No privacy for spouses (Check Mate)

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On SPOUSE-BUSTING: Intimacy, Adultery and Surveillance Technology,

Melissa Gregg

“The rise in online communication has brought an accompanying demand for services that facilitate, obscure and discover intimate and adulterous behavior, from dating sites to detective services and location-based tracking devices. This paper takes recent examples of  “spouse-busting” applications to investigate the relationship between intimacy, transparency and security. Adultery anxieties hold useful lessons for surveillance studies, since intimacy often means entitlement to a certain kind of knowledge – the provision of which equates to dominant ideals of commitment, care and trust. As Laura Kipnis argues, the modern relationship is one in which lovers “ must know everything there is to know about one another ”(2003, 162). This premise accords with broader transformations in intimacy encouraging openness and communication between self-directed individuals (Giddens 1992, Shumway 2003, Illouz 2007). According to Kipnis, the practice of “withholding information or having secrets is a definite warning sign of relationship distress ” , since “in principle nothing should be off limits (even if on occasion, ‘making sure’ may be required)”(2003,162-3). Spouse monitoring software provides the means for  “ making sure”. It demonstrates a major tenet of contemporary intimacy in so far as it presumes there is no need for privacy “if there’s nothing to hide”.”

 

 

On Lateral Surveillance (when hell is other people)

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THE WORK OF WATCHING ONE ANOTHER –

Lateral Surveillance, Risk and Governance – Mark Andrejevic

 

“This article focuses on emerging strategies for what might be described as lateral surveillance: not the top-down monitoring of employees by employers, citizens by the state, but rather the peer-to-peer surveillance of spouses, friends, and relatives.”

(…)

 

“Lateral surveillance, or peer-to-peer monitoring, understood as the use of surveillance tools by individuals, rather than by agents of institutions public or private, to keep track of one another, covers (but is not limited to) three main categories: romantic interests, family, and friends or acquaintances. It also comprises several levels of monitoring, ranging from casually Googling a new acquaintance to purchasing keystroke monitoring software, surveillance cameras, or even portable lie detectors. Rather than providing an exhaustive taxonomy of surveillance technologies and practices, this section explores examples of monitoring strategies in an effort to elaborate the logic of peer-to-peer surveillance, one that it is hoped might prove of some use in illuminating a constellation of practices ranging from the use of lie detectors in reality TV formats to the growing market for home surveillance products, and the commonplace practices of peer monitoring via cell phone, IM, or the Internet. While some of the practices described below might seem absurd, such as submitting children to a portable lie detector test, others have become so commonplace that they have passed into unreflective use, such as caller ID, once a technology paid for by those with security concerns, now a service as ubiquitous as cell phones. The following sections explore three inter-related forms of lateral surveillance: the use of the Internet, the development of do-it-yourself information gathering technologies, and that of offline investigative tools. In each case the goal is to use representative examples of the technologies to provide some concrete examples of the argument developed in previous section as well as to illustrate developments in lateral monitoring that don’t receive the kind of attention academic or otherwise that more top-down forms of surveillance have generated. Of central interest to this paper is the constellation of monitoring practices that emerge from a consideration of the available technologies and techniques. They are, I would argue, worthy of consideration in their own right not as a unique phenomenon but as part of the monitoring assemblage associated with the deployment of new information and communication technologies.”

Article abstract:

 

This article explores a range of technologies for ‘lateral surveillance’or peer monitoring arguing that in a climate of perceived risk and savvy skepticism individuals are increasingly adopting practices associated with marketing and law enforcement to gain information about friends, family members, and prospective love interests. The article argues that the adoption of such technologies corresponds with an ideology of responsibilization’associated with the risk society: that consumers need training in the consumption of services and the development of expertise to monitor one another. Rather than displacing ‘top-down’ forms of monitoring, such practices emulate and amplify them, fostering the internalization of government strategies and their deployment in the private sphere. In an age in which everyone is to be considered potentially suspect, all are simultaneously urged to become spies.

Screenshot from 2015-03-15 13:29:38

 

 

Yoga for every body by instructor who cares

Yoga instructor Amber Karnes reflects on her experience as large body and shares advices on how to create a welcoming learning environment, know what to modify and be a good teacher for every unique someone in the class.

“And it’s not just large bodies that need modifications to stay safely aligned. People with injuries, athletes of all stripes with tight muscles in various places, aging bodies, bodies recovering from surgery, bodies with prosthetics, and on and on—all can benefit when teachers offer multiple entry points to a pose.

But knowing how to modify poses is not enough. Modifications introduced in a positive way can be empowering, clarifying, and nurturing to students. On the other hand, when we teach modifications without a critical examination of our language and presentation, we can leave students feeling singled out, less-than, and ashamed. I’d like to offer six tips for teaching modifications in your classes and creating a body-positive environment of inclusivity:

>> Teachers, are you accidentally shaming your students ?

Bones Architecture

>> What your bones have in common with the Eiffel Tower

“The Eiffel tower is incredibly well optimized to do what it was designed to do, to stand tall and stand strong, while using a minimum of material. Rather than hide its inner workings with a facade, Eiffel exposed the skeleton of his masterpiece. In doing so, he revealed its “hidden rules of harmony”, many of the same rules that give your skeleton its lightweight strength.”

Suicide as Escape from Self (Baumeister, 1990)

Suicide as Escape from Self, is a theory developed by psychologist R. Baumeister, exposed in the 90’s journal article accessible here.

Article abstract :

“Suicide is analyzed in terms of motivations to escape from aversive self-awareness. The causal chain begins with events that fall severely short of standards and expectations. These failures are attributed internally, which makes self-awareness painful. Awareness of the self’s inadequacies generates negative affect, and the individual therefore desires to escape from self-awareness and the associated affect. The person tries to achieve a state of cognitive deconstruction (constricted temporal focus, concrete thinking, immediate or proximal goals, cognitive rigidity, and rejection of meaning), which helps prevent meaningful self-awareness and emotion. The deconstructed state brings irrationality and disinhibition, making drastic measures seem acceptable. Suicide can be seen as an ultimate step in the effort to escape from self and world”

 

Jesse Bering in Scientific American, sums up and comments on Baumeister’s theory: “According to Baumeister, there are six primary steps in the escape theory, culminating in a probable suicide when all criteria are met.”

They are :

1. Falling short of standards

2. Attributions to Self

3. High Self-awareness

4. Negative affect

5. Cognitive deconstruction

6. Desinhibition

 

Live and help live

Thoughts on suicide and the importance of taking care of each other, here in REMEMBERING AARON BY TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER, by Clay Shirky –

Extract:

“The warning signs are well known. Persistent withdrawal. Mood swings. Previous attempts or family history. Talking about it. Self-erasure. The American Association of Suicidology has a good overview. There’s no perfect checklist, but we are better at knowing the signs in general than we are at acting on them in specific cases. Ask yourself “Whose suicide would sadden but not surprise me?”

The useful responses are well-known too. Reach out. Ask. Listen. Take casual mentions of suicide seriously. Be persistent about checking on someone. Don’t try to cure or fix anyone; that’s out of your league. Just tell them you care, and point them to professional resources. Wikipedia has a list of English-language suicide prevention hotlines. Help Guide has a good overview of what we know about prevention generally, and how to help the potentially suicidal.

We need to remember Aaron by supporting free culture, and by limiting prosecutorial abuse. But we also need to remember Aaron by taking care of each other. Our community is unusually welcoming of people disproportionately at risk, but we are also unusually capable of working together without always building close social ties. Github is great for distributing participation, but it is lousy for seeing how everyone is doing.

We need to remember Aaron by thinking of those among us at risk of dying as he did. Most of them won’t be martyrs — most of them will be people like Ilya and Will — but their deaths will be just as awful. And, as with every cause Aaron stood for, we know how to take on this problem. What we need is the will to act.”

Swedish Doctors For Human Rights

“Our aim is to contribute to the international Human Rights movement based on our research and professional experience in the health sciences. Health concerns are an important area in the HR-international mission that has, unfortunately, been neglected as primary focus by most of established HR NGOs. We have chosen to undertake this endeavour from an independent platform, as a new established organization independent from government or partisan-politic interests. We act upon the basis of the UN chart of human rights and the ethical norms of the World Medical Association. We seek no sponsoring from any institution. We are totally independent from government, and we will not receive any financial support from governmental or corporative entities.”

SWEDISH DOCTORS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Le droit à l’anonymat et au chiffrement

“L’âge numérique s’est traduit par une capacité accrue de chacun à créer et publier des contenus accessibles par tous (en théorie) et à correspondre presque instantanément avec d’autres. Mais ces capacités accrues se sont en réalité accompagnées d’un affaiblissement de la confidentialité des communications et de l’anonymat des producteurs de contenus ou correspondants. La centralisation des services Web, la création d’un marché des données personnelles et le développement de techniques de croisement transforment l’idée d’anonymat (et l’intimité qu’elle permet) en une illusion que les dispositions juridiques de protection ne suffisent pas à transformer en réalité. Ce ne sont donc pas seulement les protestataires ou les lanceurs d’alerte qui ont besoin de techniques d’anonymisation, de chiffrement et d’outils décentralisés, mais également tout un chacun qui souhaite préserver son intimité.

L’anonymisation de type Tor (et technologies liées) et le chiffrement des communications doivent être vus comme un semble de techniques (réunies par exemple dans le système Tails [4]) qui rétablissent un équilibre perturbé, reconstituant les conditions technologiques d’un droit à l’anonymat et au secret des correspondances qui est mis en danger notamment par les différents programmes de la NSA et de ses partenaires. Ce rétablissement renforce le pouvoir distribué des individus et des organisations qu’ils forment face aux pouvoirs étatiques et privés.”

Extrait de la note de Philippe Aigrain élaborée pour la Commission parlementaire de réflexion et de propositions sur le droit et les libertés à l’âge numérique de l’Assemblée nationale

 

DSM5 Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, a.k.a DSM5, published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, has a chapter of its section 2 dedicated to the diagnosis of “Disruptive, Impulse-control, and Conduct Disorders”. These refer to “conditions involving problems in the self-control of emotions and behaviors”. They are are “unique in that these violate the rights of others and/or bring the individual into significant conflict with societal norms or authority figures”.

Within the disruptive disorders group is the rather irritating ODD, namely Oppositional Defiant Disorder : “A pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following category, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual that is not a sibling”.

ODD

The DSM warns that individuals with ODD will “typically not regard themselves as angry, oppositional or defiant. Instead, they often justify their behavior as a response to unreasonable demands or circumstances.” Also “it appears to be somewhat more prevalent in males than females, prior to adolescence”.

These types could seem like sound, possibly even brilliant, people we like to meet. Some in the profession have spoken against potentially debilitating categorizations.

For psychiatrist Bruce Levine, for instance, ODD is part of an arsenal of diagnoses which pathologize, to better neutralize, anti-authoritarian individuals.

See his “Why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as mentally ill”, on Mad in America :

“In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.”

(continue reading here)

La santé selon la Silicon Valley

Evgeny Morozov dans Le Temps – “Quelques sociétés de la Silicon Valley peuvent nous imposer une façon de vivre”...

Exemple avec la santé :

– Du coup, craignez-vous que les autorités s’impliquent de moins en moins dans la résolution de problèmes, laissant des sociétés high-tech s’en charger?

– Oui, ce risque existe. Dans la santé, un domaine dans lequel Google s’implique de plus en plus, par exemple. Avec ses solutions individualisées, l’on peut craindre de glisser de plus en plus d’un système d’assurance générale avec un partage des risques pour toute la communauté à des solutions individuelles où chacun devra supporter totalement ses propres risques. Avec leur technologie d’apparence si séduisante, les sociétés de la Silicon Valley entrent dans des domaines tels que la prévention du crime, la détection de fraudes fiscales… Ces sociétés, avec des systèmes de contrôle en temps réel, pourraient aussi décider qui peut séjourner dans quel pays. Cela risque d’aboutir à une société où l’Etat, qui ne peut tolérer le moindre risque et dont les moyens financiers diminuent sans cesse, se base de plus en plus sur des sociétés technologiques pour le maîtriser.

– Prenons le service Google Flu Trends, qui permet de détecter les débuts d’épidémies de grippe. Ne pourrait-on pas imaginer que les autorités se servent de ces données pour améliorer leurs politiques?

– Oui mais le danger est que l’Etat devienne beaucoup trop dépendant de sociétés privées pour déceler des maladies ou des comportements criminels. Du coup, au final, la question suivante pourrait se poser: pourquoi a-t-on encore besoin de l’Etat? Ne voulons-nous pas plutôt confier toutes nos données à des firmes high-tech qui les analysent, nous connaissent par cœur, nous ciblent avec de la publicité personnalisée et prennent des décisions à notre place? Et se pose aussi la question du chiffrement de nos données. Google ne les code pas et les diffuse telles quelles pour qu’elles soient utilisables à des fins marketing, ce qui n’est pas acceptable. Il faut que nos données soient protégées et qu’elles soient aussi découplées de la publicité.

Writing from Prison : Barrett Brown

“A week before Christmas, a half-dozen guards at the Seagoville Federal Detention Center pulled me from my cell, handcuffed me, and took me to the hole, where I was processed and put in another cell, before being ushered out and placed in the prison’s receiving/departures section to await transport to a different jail, all for reasons that the administration did not quite manage to articulate. The act of suddenly transferring inconvenient inmates is referred to as “diesel therapy.” I noted a few months back that CIA torture-leaker John Kiriakou, who’s also been putting out a column from behind bars, reported being threatened with identical treatment after writing about prison administration misconduct. I, on the other hand, have been the very picture of discretion; it’s not as if I had publicly revealed, for instance, that Thompson, the pudgy white officer at Seagoville known for yelling incoherent threats at black inmates during evening prisoner count, and sometimes even locking them in the showers, is openly affiliated with a Fort Worth gang. So, frankly, I am a little hurt.”

Continue READING letter from January 7th – I got kicked OUT of a prison

READ ALL previous The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail

Info and Support : FREE BARRETT BROWN

Writing from Prison : Jeremy Hammond

“The most obvious form of prison exploitation in the federal system is UNICOR: Federal Prison Industries, more commonly known as the military sweatshop in nearly every institution. It’s a quasi-public corporation that produces everything from armor plating and camouflage uniforms to office supplies. Because they are not bound by pesky things like minimum wage laws, they are frequently criticized for cutting prices and outbidding other free-world competitors for government contracts. The UNICOR here at FCI Manchester employs hundreds of prisoners sewing all-purpose combat uniforms used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. UNICOR is the highest-paying job on the compound, taking home $50-$200 a month.

In addition, because the BOP does not want to pay for additional officers, prisoners maintain nearly every aspect of the institution ourselves: cooking, food, washing dishes, cutting grass, mopping floors, fixing plumbing and electricity, and so forth. This means that , fortunately, there are other jobs available if you do not want to participate in the imperialist genocidal “war on terrorism.”

READ “There’s nothing wrong with a little get-back : Jeremy’s stay in SHU”

Find out about and Support Jeremy Hammond       

EFF : Facing the challenge of online harassment

” In the nearly 25 years that EFF has been defending digital rights, our belief in the promise of the Internet has only grown stronger. The digital world frees users from many limits on communication and creativity that exist in the offline world. But it is also an environment that reflects the problems in wider society and grants them new dimensions. Harassment is one of those problems.

Online harassment is a digital rights issue. At its worst, it causes real and lasting harms to its targets, a fact that must be central to any discussion of harassment. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to craft laws or policies that will address those harms without inviting government or corporate censorship and invasions of privacy—including the privacy and free speech of targets of harassment. But, as we discuss below, there are ways to craft effective responses, rooted in the core ideals upon which the Internet was built, to protect the targets of harassment and their rights.

This post explains our thinking about combating online harassment, and what we hope EFF’s role can be in that effort given the scope of our work. It isn’t our last word, nor should it be; this is not a simple issue. Instead, we want to outline some of the things that we consider when looking at the problem and sketch out some elements for effective responses to it.

Continue reading HERE

Protect all Rhinos

 

rhino

 

“Une image, peut-être plus parlante que mes histoires de selfies piégés et d’attentats futurs, est celle qui demande aux visiteurs de cette réserve – où vivent des rhinocéros – de ne pas diffuser les photos qu’ils prennent sur les réseaux sociaux, ou sinon de désactiver la géolocalisation de leurs appareils.

Parce que celles-ci pourront, sinon, servir à indiquer aux braconiers où et quand vont les animaux qu’ils vont abattre pour leurs cornes.

C’est pour cette raison que, quelles que soient leurs qualités, je ne prête que peu d’intérêts à la majorité des initiatives de messageries sécurisées « post-snowden ». Non qu’elles soient inutiles, loin de là, mais simplement parce qu’elles répondent à un problème du siècle dernier.

Oui, se protéger soi-même est utile. Mais quand l’énorme majorité de nos correspondants ne le sont pas, alors nous sommes autant à l’abri de la surveillance que nos amis rhinocéros. Or – et même si c’est triste il faut se rendre à l’évidence – l’énorme majorité de nos contemporains ne va pas quitter Gmail, ne va pas cesser de publier des photos sur Facebook, ne va pas désactiver la géolocalisation de ses smartphones, ni rien de tout ça.

Parce que l’énorme majorité de nos contemporains n’a « rien à cacher » et qu’à ce jour personne ne lui explique que ce qu’elle a à cacher, c’est nous.

Extrait de Rien à cacher de Laurent Chemla su rle blog Mediapart.

On regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the Four [Seasons] : Winter

“The three months of Winter

they denote securing and storing.

The water is frozen and the earth breaks open.

 

Do not disturb the yang [Qi].

Go rest early and rise late.

You must wait for the sun to shine.

 

Let the mind enter a state as if hidden,

{as if shut in}

as if you had secret intentions;

as if you already had made gains.

 

Avoid cold and seek warmth and

do not [allow sweat] to flow away through the skin

This would cause the Qi to be carried away quickly.

 

This is the correspondence with the Qi of Winter and

it is the Way of nourishing storage.

Opposing it harms the kidneys.

In Spring this causes limpness with receding Qi, and

there is little to support generation.

 

“Now,

the yin and yand [Qi] of the four seasons,

they constitute root and basis of the myriad beings.

 

Hence the sages

in spring and summer nourish the yang and

in autumn and winter nourish the yin, and

this way they follow their roots.

 

Hence,

they are in the depth or at the surface with the myriad beings at the gate to life and growth.

To oppose one’s root

is to attack one’s basis

and to spoil one’s true [Qi]”

 

From Comprehensive discourse on regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the four [seasons], chapter 2 of Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, an annotated translation of Huang Di’s inner classic – basic questions, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow.

 

Sleep for Immunity

So winter is here and you want a strong immune system : make sure you get some good sleep first thing (quantity, quality, regularity..).

>> Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress (Science Daily)

Summary:

Severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response shown during exposure to stress, a new study reports. Researchers compared the white blood cell counts of 15 healthy young men under normal and severely sleep-deprived conditions. The greatest changes were seen in the white blood cells known as granulocytes, which showed a loss of day-night rhythmicity, along with increased numbers, particularly at night.

>> Sleep and Immune Function, (Critical Care Nurse)

Abstract:

Scientists are only beginning to fully understand the purpose of sleep and its underlying mechanisms. Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases, including infection, and with increased mortality. Lack of proper sleep is an important problem in the intensive care unit, and interventions have been designed to improve it. Sleep is associated with immune function, and this relationship is partially based on the physiological basis of sleep, sleep architecture, the sleep-wake cycle, cytokines and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

Sleep is one of the biggest riddles known. The knowledge that all animals sleep implies that sleep fulfills some basic physiological need. Yet, scientists are only beginning to fully understand the purpose of sleep1 and the underlying mechanisms.2 Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases and with increased mortality1,3 and is an important problem in the intensive care unit (ICU).48

In this review, I describe the relationship between sleep and immune function. Understanding this complicated association requires knowledge of the physiological basis of sleep and the basic elements of immune function as applied to sleep. Therefore, I briefly review sleep architecture and the sleep-wake cycle. I also discuss immune function and cytokines and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Although evidence linking sleep and immune function has come from studies of the sleep-wake cycle, cytokines, and the HPA axis, most investigators have relied on 2 basic approaches. In the first approach, laboratory animals and human volunteers are deprived of sleep and the consequences of the deprivation on immune responses, bodily systems associated with the immune system, and/or immune products are measured. In the other approach, laboratory animals or human volunteers are infected with pathogens or given substances that challenge the immune system, and the effects of these interventions on sleep are determined.9 I present evidence provided by using both of these research strategies. Finally, I describe how sleep in the ICU affects patients’ immune function and suggest interventions to improve patients’ sleep.

 

The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare (Brown & Adams)

Abstract:

Ubiquitous healthcare is an emerging area of technology that uses a large number of environmental and patient sensors and actuators to monitor and improve patients’ physical and mental condition. Tiny sensors gather data on almost any physiological characteristic that can be used to diagnose health problems. This technology faces some challenging ethical questions, ranging from the small-scale individual issues of trust and efficacy to the societal issues of health and longevity gaps related to economic status. It presents par- ticular problems in combining developing computer/information/media ethics with established medical ethics. This article describes a practice-based ethics approach, considering in particular the areas of privacy, agency, equity and liability. It raises questions that ubiquitous healthcare will force practitioners to face as they de- velop ubiquitous healthcare systems. Medicine is a controlled profession whose practise is commonly re- stricted by government-appointed authorities, whereas computer software and hardware development is notoriously lacking in such regimes.

” In this article we present a practise-based ethics approach, raising the questions to which medical and computing professionals will be forced to face up, as they collaborate to develop and deploy ubiquitous healthcare systems.” 

The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare, Ian Brown & Andrew A. Adams in IRIE, International Review of Informational Ethics, Vol.8 12/2007

Re-examination of the concept of Self-Care

“In the 1980s, as she struggled with cancer, Audre Lorde asserted that caring for herself was “an act of political warfare.” Since then, self-care has become a popular buzzword in activist circles. The rhetoric of self-care has moved from specific to universal, from defiant to prescriptive. When we talk about self-care today, are we talking about the same thing Lorde was? It’s time to reexamine this concept.”

Read FOR ALL WE CARE, Reconsidering Self-Care on CrimethInc.

Excerpts 

(…)

“Caring for ourselves doesn’t mean pacifying ourselves. We should be suspicious of any understanding of self-care that identifies wellbeing with placidity or asks us to perform “health” for others. Can we imagine instead a form of care that would equip each of us to establish an intentional relationship to her dark side, enabling us to draw strength from the swirling chaos within? Treating ourselves gently might be an essential part of this, but we must not assume a dichotomy between healing and engaging with the challenges around and inside us. If care is only what happens when we step away from those struggles, we will be forever torn between an unsatisfactory withdrawal from conflict and its flipside, a workaholism that is never enough. Ideally, care would encompass and transcend both struggle and recovery, tearing down the boundaries that partition them.”

(…)

“If we want to identify what is worth preserving in self-care, we can start by scrutinizing care itself. To endorse care as a universal good is to miss the role care also plays in perpetuating the worst aspects of the status quo. There’s no such thing as care in its pure form—care abstracted from daily life in capitalism and the struggles against it. No, care is partisan—it is repressive or liberating. There are forms of care that reproduce the existing order and its logic, and other forms of care that enable us to fight it. We want our expressions of care to nurture liberation, not domination—to bring people together according to a different logic and values.”

(…)

“So rather than promoting self-care, we might seek to redirect and redefine care. For some of us, this means recognizing how we benefit from imbalances in the current distribution of care, and shifting from forms of care that focus on ourselves alone to support structures that benefit all participants. Who’s working so you can rest? For others, it could mean taking better care of ourselves than we’ve been taught we have a right to—though it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to undertake this individually as a sort of consumer politics of the self. Rather than creating gated communities of care, let’s pursue forms of care that are expansive, that interrupt our isolation and threaten our hierarchies.

Self-care rhetoric has been appropriated in ways that can reinforce the entitlement of the privileged, but a critique of self-care must not be used as yet another weapon against those who are already discouraged from seeking care. In short: step up, step back.

“A struggle that doesn’t understand the importance of care is doomed to fail. The fiercest collective revolts are built on a foundation of nurture. But reclaiming care doesn’t just mean giving ourselves more care, as one more item after all the others on the to-do list. It means breaking the peace treaty with our rulers, withdrawing care from the processes that reproduce the society we live in and putting it to subversive and insurrectionary purposes.”

(…)

“If self-care is just a way to ease the impact of an ever-increasing demand for productivity, rather than a transformative rejection of that demand, it’s part of the problem, not the solution. For self-care to be anti-capitalist, it has to express a different conception of health.”

(…)

“Your human frailty is not a regrettable fault to be treated by proper self-care so you can get your nose back to the grindstone. Sickness, disability, and unproductivity are not anomalies to be weeded out; they are moments that occur in every life, offering a common ground on which we might come together. If we take these challenges seriously and make space to focus on them, they could point the way beyond the logic of capitalism to a way of living in which there is no dichotomy between care and liberation.”

Keeping in Touch

Touch is a bonding agent, a means of pain relief and perhaps most importantly, a way to say, “I care.” The inherent human need for touch has always been a part of our story, and it continues to this day. “

“Touch takes place on the canvas of human experience. Healthy, positive touch is intended to help and to heal, and the application of healthy touch takes many forms. Massage, for example, is the structured form of applied touch, administered with purpose and by way of thoughtful techniques based on knowledge.”

In  “The power of Touch: A basic human need”, by Judi Calvert on Massage today

England Your England, by George Orwell

“As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.”

“It is therefore of the deepest importance to try and determine what England is, before guessing what part England can play in the huge events that are happening.”

ENGLAND YOUR ENGLAND, George Orwell, 1941 –

 

Note, a passage on the “Privateness of English life”:

(…) What it does link up with, however, is another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English life. We are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans. All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official – the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the ‘nice cup of tea’. The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.”

How the Poor Die, by George Orwell

“In the year 1929 I spent several weeks in the Hôpital X, in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris. The clerks put me through the usual third-degree at the reception desk, and indeed I was kept answering questions for some twenty minutes before they would let me in. If you have ever had to fill up forms in a Latin country you will know the kind of questions I mean. For some days past I had been unequal to translating Reaumur into Fahrenheit, but I know that my temperature was round about 103, and by the end of the interview I had some difficulty in standing on my feet. At my back a resigned little knot of patients, carrying bundles done up in coloured handkerchiefs, waited their turn to be questioned.”

Continue reading How the Poor Die, by George Orwell (1946)

A day in Tahrir hospital + Portrait of trauma surgeon Seif Khirfan (Florence Tran)


A day in Tahrir hospitals from florence TRAN on Vimeo.

Seif Khirfan from florence TRAN on Vimeo.

Seif is a trauma surgeon who was shot in Tahrir the 25 th of January. This triggered a complete transformation in him. He is now a presenter for a TV program called “Let me hear you”. He goes in the field and listen to Egyptians who have positive and citizen initiatives.

The “chilling effects” of surveillance on freedom of speech

In 1975 psychologists P. Zimbardo (also known for the Stanford Prison Experiment) and G. White exposed the results of an experiment designed to test psychological side effects of surveillance, and more precisely, the negative effects of surveillance on freedom of speech. Their focus was on subjects “de-individuation” which refers to someone giving up on their individuality, inhibiting their self-expression, and “reactance”, which is defined as an “aversive motivational state experienced when a person thinks one of his freedom has been threatened or eliminated”.

The authors not distinguishing between psychological integrity and actual constitutional rights is in part what makes that article still so relevant today, 40 years and a considerable extension of the domain of surveillance later.

In the introduction of their paper, the authors don’t take detours to make clear that:

If people are inhibited by surveillance, the first amendment has at least been psychologically breached. If so, courts and legislatures may need to consider these effects in order to specify more narrowly those conditions that justify surveillance and those where surveillance violates important rights of citizens”

This research, they conclude, demonstrate that surveillance does indeed tamper with freedom of speech, and not only that, but that these “chilling effects” also come “at a price of increased disrespect for the government and society itself “. That sounds counter-productive, doesn’t it ?

Abstract :

Americans are becoming more aware that one’s private life may be under surveillance by government agencies and other institutions. Two social- psychological theories are discussed that can be applied to the effect of potentially aversive surveillance on opinion inhibition. The deindividuation- individuation hypothesis predicts that people will avoid opinion expression, while the psychological reactance hypothesis predicts opinion assertion and attack upon threatening agents. To test these notions, a reactance-arousing threat (videotaping of marijuana opinions which would be sent to the FBI) was orthogonally crossed with actual performance of the threatened action. The results are reported.

Access article here

How will surveillance and privacy technologies impact on the psychological notions of identity ?

After discussing the developments of surveillance and privacy technologies (with privacy protection lagging behind), Ian Brown (Oxford University) argues that they are likely to :

> Bring about Distrust in personal relationships and technology

“Control of information disclosure is an important part of managing personal relationships. Between partners and friends, controlled disclosure builds intimacy and trust, while the ability to tell “little white lies” can be essential to smooth over conflict. If new surveillance technologies do not come with adequate privacy features, this disclosure control will be damaged. This could erode social ties and potentially contribute to family breakdowns and fewer quality relationships. ”

> Negatively affect Social mobility and cohesion

“Private and public-sector surveillance and profiling will lead to individuals increasingly being offered differentiated products and services based on past behaviour, and to a more targeted exercise of power in areas such as criminal justice and social security (Anderson et al. 2009). Unless approached carefully, this could significantly reduce aspiration and social mobility. It may also cause a reduction in social cohesion, if levels of common experiences and the perception of equal treatment are reduced.”

> Create Conformity and stigma 

“The Internet has given individuals greater freedom to explore different identities, reducing constraints on finding information about and participating in online discussion with similar others (McKenna 2007). Greater surveillance could constrain such “potential” selves, and force the revelation of stigmatised identities and interest in fringe ideologies – as well as reinforcing feelings of isolation, difference and shame”

> “Criminalize” citizens and be counter-productive in catching criminals : (mis) Judgment by authority

“While the use of privacy technologies (such as e-mail encryption) remains relatively unusual, users could be wrongly identified with those attempting to hide criminal activities. ”

> Disable the Plural society 

“Surveillance can have a significantly constraining effect on political debate and protest, and hence reduce the broader public debate on socially contested issues, and the ability of weaker groups to resist power.”

“Despite the technological opportunities for sousveillance, Ullrich and Wollinger (2011) note that power asymmetries remain for protestors. Police are “better equipped, outfitted with public legitimacy, more trusted by courts, in possession of other preventive and repressive instruments,” and can also seize protestors’ recordings for their own use (Ullrich and Wollinger, 2011: 24). They conclude that “a technical arms build-up of open and concealed surveillance… signals the encroachment of authoritarian concepts of the state and is a potentially dangerous attack on political participation from below” (p.33). ”

ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

 

 

“Calibration of feeling”

Julian Assange on emotions as body states, cultivation of character, passion, and purpose. From the archive of his Interesting Question, IQ.org.

j-577

Tue 12 Dec 2006 : Calibration of feeling

Words have no power to change except when there’s a fork in the road with equally attractive paths.

In your position, I’d take a deep book, a backpack of food and a tent and go walking for three months along the.au or .nz coast. You need to recalibrate your emotions through recalibrating your body. Emotions are body states. The mind can not be strong without strength in its relation to the body. ‘Whatever’ is then quickly answered; wake with the sun, take the next step, eat the next bite and behold people and chairs become a delight. It’s hard for you to see this now, since future visions are colored with present emotional responses. But these emotional responses are just another part of your flesh, built from the integration of your neurons and body. It’s material, stuff, like muscle, constructed from last weeks potatoes and environmental stimulus. You can strengthen your will through overcoming physical hardship.

The natural environment provides man with ready motivational gradients, but civilization has filled them in. Hyper-civilized influences, such as computing, artificial lights, drugs, films, instant food supply, telephones and reading decalibrate by disconnecting behavior and reward and failing to provide the sense data that our biological mental and physical structures have evolved to require.

There’s little difference between a mouse exploring a new maze or a scientist realizing the greatest intellectual act of the age. Both are motivated by the same primitive brain regions that control feelings.

‘The point’ comes when feelings demand it. It can only be rationalized from the axioms of primitive emotion. If these axioms are weak due to decalibration by civilization, ‘the point’ eludes us. If they are strong, we pursue our goals with passion and vigor.

Sat 16 Jun 2007 : Everyone and no one wants to save the world

When the world extended to one’s surrounding hills and mountains and over them was only legend, saving the world was approchable and a natural activity to all of independent character.

You do not need to justify the possession of these noble instincts. Such attributes are normally distributed. You have a constellation of these attributes and that makes you who you are. Recognise that the substantial ones are invariant.

You must satisfy your invariant instincts or you will be at odds with your own character. It is only when we are not at odds with our basic makeup that we can find life meaningful.

To exercise your instinct for saving the world, requires saving what you perceive to be the world.

Being modern, educated and wordly, the world you perceive is immense and this is disempowering compared to the valley world of your ancestors where your feelings were forged and where saving 10 people saved 10% of the “world”‘s population.

Here lays the difficulty in actualising your character. Your perception is of a world so vast that that you can not envisage your actions making a meaningful difference.

People try to fool themselves and others into believing that one can “think globally and act locally’, however to anyone with a sense of proportion (not most people, btw) thinking globaly makes acting locally seem to be a marginal activity. It’s not setting the world to rights.

To meaningfully interact with the world, you have to either constrain your perception of what it is back to valley proportions by eschewing all global information (most of us here have engaged on just the opposite course which is what has provoked this discussion), losing your sense of perspective, or start seriously engaging with the modern perception of the world.

That latter path can be hard to find, because it is only satisfied by creating ideas or inventions that have a global impact. Perhaps I have found one, and there’s others out there, but for most people of your character a combination of eschewing knowledge of those parts of the world they can’t change, and robust engagement with the parts they can is probably optimal.

Do not be concerned about when one is to do good, who defines good, etc. Act in the way you do because to do otherwise would to be at odds would to be at odds with yourself. Being on a path true to your character carries with it a state of flow, where the thoughts about your next step come upon waking, unbidden, but welcome.

I support similarly minded people, not because they are moral agents, but because they have common cause with my own feelings and dreams.

Tue 18 Jul 2006 : Laughter

Laughter is fear and relief. Fear is all around. Every step is conditioned by the fear of falling. It is the relief from primitive anxiety and alarm responses that give rise to laughter. The release of the breath that wasn’t needed. That sudden surprise rendered harmless by higher perception. Wonder, when accompanied by the expression of laughter is the unknown and fearful transformed. A transformation by subconscious brain functions typically of sub second duration. A transformation that takes the unknown and therefore possibly lethal and yields up the unknown and harmless to observe. Something to be explored, understood and remembered by wide eyed curiosity. Those eyes wide to suck in the world and a memory hungry for its details. A psychological and physiological stance that makes the unknown known. A state of maximal observational learning. 

  

Regarde au loin

“L’oeil humain n’est pas fait pour cette distance; c’est aux grands espaces qu’il se repose. Quand vous regardez les étoiles ou l’horizon de la mer, votre oeil est tout à fait détendu; si l’oeil est détendu, la tête est libre, la marche plus assurée; tout se détend et s’assouplit jusqu’aux viscères. Mais n’essaie point de t’assouplir par la volonté; ta volonté en toi, appliquée en toi, tire tout de travers et finira par t’étrangler. Ne pense pas à toi, regarde au loin.”

Alain, Propos sur le bonheur.

Prosthetic Surveillance

Prosthetic Surveillance: The medical governance of healthy bodies in cyberspace

(Emma Rich, Andy Miah)

Abstract : 

This paper examines how ‘surveillance medicine’ (Armstrong 1995) has expanded the realm of the medical gaze via its infiltration of cyberspace, where specific features of healthism are now present. Drawing on Foucault’s notion of biopower, we examine how digital health resources offer new ways through which to discipline individuals and regulate populations. The emergence of health regulation within and through cyberspace takes place in a context wherein the relationship between the body and technology is rendered more complex. Departing from early literature on cyberspace, which claimed that the body was absent in virtual worlds, we articulate a medicalized cyberspace within which the virtual and corporeal are enmeshed. 

The range of health issues articulated through surveillance discourses are many and varied, though of significance are those related to weight and health, as they provide a particularly rich example through which to study medical surveillance in cyberspace due to their moral and regulative focus. We argue that the capacity for health resources to encourage disciplinary and regulative practices defies the designation of virtual, as non-reality. Moreover, with the advent of a range of digital platforms that merge entertainment with the regulation of the body, such as Internet based nutrition games, and the use of games consoles such as Nintendo wii fit, cyberspace may be providing a forum for new forms of regulative practices concerning health. These virtual environments expand our understandings of the boundaries of the body, since much of what takes place occurs through both a virtualization of identity, such as the use of an avatar or graphic image of one’s body on screen, and a prostheticisation of the body within cyberspace. To conclude, while surveillance medicine regulates physical selves in real time, we argue that there is a growing tendency towards a prosthetic surveillance, which regulates and defines bodies that are simultaneously hyper-text and flesh. 

Full article (pdf) on Surveillance & Society journal :

http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/surveillance-and-society/article/view/3256