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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
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heres a really weird fact
    #1866017 - 08/30/03 04:39 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

Here?s a really weird fact: affluent British 15-year-old girls are now twice as prone to anxiety and depression as their poorer neighbors. These girls have every possible advantage. They do much better at school than boys. Hard-won freedoms denied to their mothers and grandmothers mean they have much more money to spend and choice about how to use their time. If any group is feeling pretty chipper about life under American-style advanced capitalism, it should be them.

Yet they are increasingly miserable. Whereas in 1987 only six percent suffered from a serious mental illness, now it?s 18 percent. The cause of this derangement is the same as the one that has led to a dramatic rise in mental illness since 1950 throughout the developed world and especially in America. It?s a pathological attack of Keeping Up With The Joneses, an obsessive and envious comparing of what you own and who you are, of never being satisfied with yourself or what you?ve got.

In the case of the affluent teenage girls (but not poor ones or boys), between 1987 and 1999 their worries about school performance and their weight soared. Their anxieties perfectly matched a dramatic leap in their exam results and ever-greater pressures to look like Kate Moss or Posh Spice. Increased demands from parents, teachers and the media led to an epidemic of maladjusted comparing of themselves with other girls? looks and academic success.

Comparing to other people is a part of the human condition. If we want to be better at something, we naturally look toward people who have already achieved what we aspire to. Equally, if we want to cheer ourselves up, we gain succor from observing less accomplished performers than ourselves.

When looking for ways to improve my golf, for instance, I compare myself with my friend Paul, who is much better than me. But when comparing upwards you have to be careful. To avoid feeling hopelessly outclassed, I must put Paul?s excellence in context by saying things to myself like, ?he?s been playing for years? and ?he practices all the time.? This is known as ?discounting.? Without it, I would not be able to learn from watching Paul without falling into despair.

On the other hand, when I play with my friend Hugo, who is useless, it?s important that I allow my superiority to nourish my self-confidence (this will help in the hard times when I?m playing Paul). If I were depressed, I would be liable to say to myself, ?I beat Hugo, but he?d probably win if he only practiced a bit more and had a few lessons.? I would discount the fact that he is worse than me and gain no benefit to my self-esteem. Instead, I just enjoy being better.

American advanced capitalism has ruthlessly exploited our comparison instinct. More than that, it encourages grossly pathological ways of comparing, both upward and downward.

We are under continuous pressure from a very young age to compare ourselves with incredibly talented, beautiful and ultimately unreal people, all without discounting. Television and magazines give us the illusion that these stars are people just like us.

As a result, affluent 15-year-old girls are liable to say in all seriousness that they hope to be as successful as Madonna or Posh Spice, directly comparing themselves and apparently oblivious to the extreme improbability of it ever happening. Feeling they almost know these women and encouraged by song lyrics and autobiographies that promise ?you too can be anyone you want to be,? the girls make no discount for what has made the stars stand out.

In Madonna?s case, for instance, she is a Machiavellian workaholic who has used money and status to compensate for a terribly disturbed early childhood. As for Posh, she obsessively craves attention and was willing to do anything to be famous. Without these pathologies, a normal girl is unlikely to be prepared to go through the awful distortions necessary to achieve stardom.

Equally destructive is the fact that, when these increasingly perfectionist girls read their usually excellent exam results, or look at their pretty faces and nubile bodies in the mirror, they fail utterly to enjoy what they see. Instead, they look at others who are better than them in some minute regard (?better at math,? ?bigger boobs,? ?more friends?), and feel like failures. Worst of all, when they hear of others who have done worse or see girls less pretty, they shrug it off, discounting the evidence that all their work has not been in vain: their best is never good enough.

Compared with 1950, and with accelerating speed, a ?grass is greener? mentality has been made a part of ourselves. Studies of lottery winners show that they soon readjust their sights and begin to long for what they do not have. They may now have a Merc and a Porsche, a large home and no need to work ? but if only they could afford the yacht, the mansion, the helicopter?.

Likewise, enormously wealthy people simply raise the standards of what they expect, so that even if they stay in the top hotels, drive the most opulent cars and so on, they will always feel there is a better one elsewhere. They are constantly infuriated by the smallest sign that what they have is less than the best.

Continual economic growth is only possible if needs are constantly diversifying to create new markets. There is a necessity for ever more diverse needs so that ever more specific products can be devised to meet them. Advanced capitalism maintains itself by fostering spurious individualism, pressuring us to define ourselves through our purchases, with ever more precisely marketed products that create a fetishistic concern to have ?this? rather than ?that,? even when there is no significant practical or aesthetic difference. It profits from the dissatisfaction and rage that are engendered by unreal social comparisons, encouraging us to fill the consequent psychic void with material goods and drugs of solace (alcohol, illegal drugs, food, nicotine).

Money can even be made from restoring the chemical imbalance in our brains that results from these overheated ambitions and false identities, selling pills and therapeutic services to the damaged and subordinated. Capitalism does very nicely at both ends. It creates misery, and it cures it. Our inner lives foot the bill.

Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of They F**k You Up (Bloomsbury, 2002).

From the September/October 2003 issue of Adbusters magazine.


:thumbup: :grin: 


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1866036 - 08/30/03 04:46 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

nice post. I've been dedicating my study of psychology to creating scientific ways to isolate and explore these phenomena via social psychology research and experimentation.

my newest experiment is called "Fashion and the Eugenics of Conformity", but I wont go into detail cuz I dont want other psych majors to steal my ideas!

5 shroomz for you!!!


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1866107 - 08/30/03 05:08 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

glad you liked it
thats why I shared it

peace


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1866586 - 08/30/03 07:54 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

Wrong forum.

Facts have no place here.


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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1866636 - 08/30/03 08:11 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

yes they DO


even if some people think they dont


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Offlinesirreal
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1866706 - 08/30/03 08:54 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

The more they are educated , the more that is expected of them. Maybe they do not measure up?


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I may not always tell the truth, but atleast I'm honest
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I see what everyone is saying. It is so hard to form an opinion when you see both sides so clearly!


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Offlinemonoamine
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1866713 - 08/30/03 08:56 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

Don't forget that this forum is largely composed of opinions .Facts certainly have their place,but they need some kind of ideology to back them up.There's nothing worse than reading something with statistic after statistic without any logical reasoning.

Edit: I'm not commenting on your original post. I think your post was a good example of something using statistical facts backed up by logical reasoning.


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People think that if you just say the word "hallucinations" it explains everything you want it to explain and eventually whatever it is you can't explain will just go away.It's just a word,it doesn't explain anything...
Douglas Adams


Edited by grandmasterfat (08/30/03 08:58 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1867955 - 08/31/03 11:42 AM (13 years, 10 months ago)

How does this have anything to do with politics, activism, or law? It reads like a brief blurb in Psychology Today or something.

pinky


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Offlinewingnutx
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Phred]
    #1868191 - 08/31/03 01:33 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

There's a little anti-consumerist blurb at the bottom.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1868201 - 08/31/03 01:37 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

Pretty accurate summation of capitalism.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Phred]
    #1868287 - 08/31/03 02:01 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

where would you expect this to be posted?

the S&P crowd might dig it, but I could see this thread quickly getting buried by a million "look at my new bong" posts in OTD...


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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Anonymous

Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1868307 - 08/31/03 02:07 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

greed has been a cause of human suffering for ages. people always want the bigger, better thing. people have been seeking, and failing to find, happiness in material possessions since prehistoric times.

modern technology, with mass production and mass media, has allowed this futile chase to blossom into an epidemic of consumerism.

i don't think that this is a problem which is the government's business to address though. it is a flaw, a flaw in our culture and way of life, but it's a flaw that people can realize for themselves exists, and not get caught up in if they choose not to.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: ]
    #1868391 - 08/31/03 02:41 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

"it is a flaw, a flaw in our culture and way of life, but it's a flaw that people can realize for themselves exists, and not get caught up in if they choose not to. "

You have more faith in people than I do :smile:

Just remember that from birth we are bombarded with a constant stream of audio-visual stimulation telling us that we arent good enough and the only solution is to buy buy buy.  I can understand how the older people in this forum might not understand this, but I was born in 1981.  I cant remember a time in my life when large organizations werent using every psychological device they had to sell me crap.  Some of this stuff affected my brain before it was even fully developed.  I have since come to realize this, but a lot of people my age havent.  It takes a strong mind to break that kind of conditioning.

I fear for the younger kids...  my little brother's generation (he is 12).  The authority figures have these kids all hopped up on speed and watching cartoons that are basically 30 minute commercials.  3rd graders that dont wear designer clothes get picked on and isolated by those that do... 

But hey, its all capitalism, right?  Whatever sells is OK.

I'd like to end this post with yet another bill hicks quote:

"If any of you in the audience are in marketing or advertising...  please kill yourself.  There is no excuse for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers filling the world with bile and garbage.  KILL YOURSELF...  Its the only way to save your soul...  KILL YOURSELF."


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1868537 - 08/31/03 04:23 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

"If any of you in the audience are in marketing or advertising... please kill yourself. There is no excuse for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers filling the world with bile and garbage. KILL YOURSELF... Its the only way to save your soul... KILL YOURSELF."

thats why I love bill hicks!


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Edited by Psilocybeingzz (08/31/03 04:23 PM)


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OfflineNoviseer
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1868713 - 08/31/03 05:36 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

I grew up in a pretty standard upper middle class community, but once my parents sent me to a private high school, I saw some fuked up shit. Mercilessly self-driven girls horribly hooked on speed, balancing perfect grades, showing up at the right parties with the right people, listening to the right type of music, eating the right kind of foods (rarely.) My thoughts were always, "these must be the most miserable people on the planet." How do you live your life as a complete representation of something else? Most people represent themselves based on their own likes / dislikes, and indulge in the type of lifestyle that fits them. These girls comform to some outside standard, and lose themselves in the process. Are they going to know who they are once they get out of that environment? i don't know, but I bet they're going to need some serious therapy.


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_______________________________________________________________
namaste said:
no flamz in da ODD, if you got nothing to contribute then keep yo lips zipped
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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Noviseer]
    #1868716 - 08/31/03 05:38 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

Hey, guys ?motions this direction and leans forward?, wanna see my new bong?
Peace.


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I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
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Loving every breath of you

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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1869010 - 08/31/03 07:55 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

The hamburglar stole your childhood!



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Edited by Baby_Hitler (08/31/03 07:56 PM)


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: heres a really weird fact [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1869248 - 08/31/03 09:43 PM (13 years, 10 months ago)

we used to smog the hamburgalar's hideout the fuck out back in the day.  That was before McDonald's built those plastic deathtrap playgrounds.  Never smogged one of those out :smile:


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