Author Archive

Mind Matters: The connecting human condition

Riding on the subway—called the “T” in Boston—the other day, I looked around at all the faces, the feet, the eyes, the shapes, the clothes, the hair. We are all packed together, elbows and hips crammed in narrow seats and jammed standing too. I muse that it would be hard to believe in anything but in inclusivity and the commonality of being human. There is hardly ...

 
 

Mind Matters: Critical thinking meets compassion

Elizabeth Minuchin, in “The Evil of Banality,” argues that when people don’t think critically, they simply “follow” and can become agents of evil without questioning the morality of their actions. An evil system, she says, only works when ordinary people carry out its orders. The work of Philip Zimbardo corroborates her premise. He and his colleagues devised the ...

 

Mind Matters: Psychology Is everywhere

There is no dearth of topics where research in psychology doesn’t have relevant input. I recently unearthed the December 2016, issue of the American Psychological Association Monitor from my pile of journals and discovered the following “print-bites” of knowledge. Here are a few. According to a study in Health Psychology, researchers found that tweens and teens ...

 

Mind Matters: The wisest investment

In high school, I discovered Maria Montessori and her theories of childhood education that she developed in the early 1900s. She stressed how important the early years of childhood, 0 to 5, were in the development of the healthy individual. She considered the young mind to be an absorbent mind, rapidly developing and in need of great nurturing and care. Since her ...

 

Mind Matters: Writing to heal

In the sturm und drang of adolescence, I remember sitting alone on the living room sofa or in my bedroom writing about my wretched state of being in a stream of consciousness fashion. After doing this for 20 minutes or so, I could hardly read these tomes and so would tear them up with a: “blah.” However, I felt relief in pouring out my soul on paper and could get ...

 

Mind Matters: Research nuggets in psychology

Allow me to glean some nuggets of psychological research reported on in the American Psychological Association Monitor (see http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/05/index.aspx). The articles include research on belief versus fact; how green buildings help cognitive ability, thereby promoting productivity; and also an editorial on how psychologists are concerned about both ...

 

Mind Matters: Are you thinking?

Years ago, in 1963, Hannah Arendt, a political philosopher, wrote about Adolf Eichman, the Nazi who murdered millions of Jews. Her book was titled “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.” Arendt observed that Eichmann did not start out as an “anti-Semitic monster” but was a “normal person who had what was for his time a normal upbringing and ...

 

Mind Matters: From cemetery to science

Now that I've moved to Massachusetts, I miss the blues and purples of the Siberian squill and glory of the snow that carpet the forest of Winterthur. So, I come to the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge to look for nature’s beauty among the dead, whose remains rest there. I can see Boston’s Prudential Center as well as Sanders Theatre in Harvard Square. It’s a ...

 

Mind Matters: Creative visualization

Why not re-examine the new edition of the 40-year-old book, “Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life,” while the country, for many of us, seems to be in a constitutional crisis? After all, the author Shakti Gawain notes, “This is a time of great transformation on our planet. We all have a part to play, just be ...

 

Mind Matters: Stress in America

A front page headline in the Boston Globe proclaims that the “newest topic of the therapist couch conversation” is politics. Since the election, says the Globe, mental health professionals have experienced a rise in politically induced anxiety. Yes, I have just moved to “liberal” Massachusetts. So you might say, “Oh, that’s just happening there and nowhere else.” In ...

 

Mind Matters: Moments that transcend

Sacred moments of connection to another person happen in the oddest places. The other day I was shopping at one of those big box stores. It must have been an in-between time since there were only a few shoppers. A woman, even older than I, was handing out samples of a drink and I stopped to try some. She hesitated for a moment, then spoke quietly, “Yes, we need to ...