Psychiatry, Dostoyevsky, Pogrom, Orban, Steven Pinker

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Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 22nd March 2018

A guide to seeking psychiatric help without getting committed. “If you go to a hospital for mental health reasons, your risk of getting involuntarily committed is relatively high. If you go to an outpatient provider, your risk is much lower. If you just have occasional thoughts about suicide, according to the law this is not enough to involuntarily commit you. In practice, not every mental health professional knows the laws or interprets them the same way, so they can just commit you anyway” (8,100 words)

Floating In The Air

Jennifer Wilson | Nation | 22nd March 2018

‘Crime And Punishment’ was Dostoyevsky’s broadside against the Darwinism, utilitarianism and utopian socialism fashionable among Russian students in the 1860s. “They created an intellectual climate which put too much stock in the ability of science and reasoning to explain human behavior. Dostoyevsky knew human beings to be irrational and profoundly self-destructive. He saw these tendencies in his own propensity for gambling, procrastination, and daily forms of self-ruin” (2,580 words)

Anatomy Of A Pogrom

Steven Zipperstein | Tablet | 23rd March 2018

The Kishinev pogrom of 1903 began with boys throwing stones, and ended in an orgy of murder and looting. “A slab of meat found in a shop-owner’s home was waved over the heads of rioters with the announcement that it was the remains of a Christian child. The wife of the Jewish shopkeeper Yudel Fishman, whose building was broken into, escaped with her child in her arms, but she dropped the newborn as she fled to the train station, the baby crushed to death in the onslaught” (8,300 words)

Homo Orbánicus

Jan-Werner Müller | New York Review Of Books | 22nd March 2018

Review of Paul Lendvai’s new biography of Viktor Orbán. “Orbán has understood that authoritarian populism must never evoke images familiar from 20C dictatorships: no violence in the streets, no knocks on doors by the secret police late at night. Power is secured through control of the judiciary and the media; behind talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically” (3,900 words)

Enlightenment Now

Scott Aaronson | Shtetl-Optimized | 22nd March 2018

Steve Pinker’s scholarship is astonishing; scarcely less so his optimism. “Even though I consistently see clouds where he sees sunshine, we’re otherwise looking at much the same scene, and our shared view also makes us want the same things for the world. I find myself in overwhelming, nontrivial agreement with Pinker about the value of science, reason, humanism, and Enlightenment. My advice is: buy Pinker’s book and read it. Then work for a future where the book’s optimism is justified” (3,900 words)

Video of the day The Making Of Welcome Home

What to expect:

Spike Jonze at work on an Apple commercial, showing himself as much a dancer as a director (6’44”)

Thought for the day

For my own part, I can never get enough Nothing to do
G.K. Chesterton

Podcast of the day The Atlantic Interview | Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates talks to Jeffrey Goldberg about Trump, Twitter, and Captain America
(46m 29s)

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