Appearing in Leviticus, the concept of a scapegoat is that of two goats — while one is sacrificed, the other is released into the wilderness to carry the sins of the community. Family dynamics and the process of development can lead to the scapegoating of a family member, as someone unfairly blamed for the errors of the group. How does a process such as this taint an individual’s worldview, faith, or trust in others?
As we age, a common human experience is losing faith in the institutions we grew up believing in (i.e. family, government, economy, education, and religion). Is the American medical industry an institution we should have faith in, or not? Could it be causing unnecessary harm by promoting the invention of diseases, utilizing erroneous mental health categories, and informing its practices on funding? What are the positives of the American medical industry when compared to other countries? How do we fix the errors of this American institution to purely reflect an apolitical agenda intent on servicing those in need?
How important is the organization of society when it comes to individual mental health? The following allegorical short story addresses the impact of ideological brainwashing, its self-perpetuating cycle, its destruction of its opponents, and the pushback necessary to create a balanced society composed of free-thinking individuals.
Depression seems like an obvious flaw in the human condition. The symptoms of depression (everything from apathy, social isolation, and anhedonia to emptiness, sleeplessness, and ruminations) can make engaging in daily life absolutely impossible. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” Despite what seems like an obvious evolutionary handicap, research has shown depression has a variety of hidden benefits, such as encouraging attention to detail, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. By acknowledging depression’s hidden benefits, we can alter the way it impacts us individually and societally.
The controversial and well-known Lolita by Nabokov forces us to address taboo topics and confusing realities in a way that only art can do. How do relationships often represent unrealistic ideals? Despite the novel’s taboo subject matter, can it teach us something about the dynamics of normal relationships? How do different art forms allow us to address immoral behaviors, social faux-pas, or the negative features of our human condition productively?
There’s no question the United States — and the globe — has been experiencing crisis and turmoil. Crisis Theory emerged as a response to assist those who faced unimaginable horrors while serving in WWII — can it help us now? How can we apply Crisis Theory to the U.S.’s political climate, institutions, policies, and laws; personal therapy sessions and individual mental health; and response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in order to enact positive change?
How do we keep our emotionality in check? As a species, what regulatory mechanisms do we employ to balance negative and positive experiences? Does society influence our psychological balancing act, or is this primarily an individual responsibility?
Where do we derive meaning for our existence and how do we find happiness? Can souls be nourished like bodies? If the world is a window, what do we see when we look in as we pass it by?
Is the impulse to commit suicide born of anger and aggression or desperation and fear? Can we make a generalizable claim regarding the reasons an individual takes his/her own life? Do we ever really understand the things we do, or are we just rationalizing our actions and the actions of others after the fact?
Are we benefiting from mental health diagnoses, medications, and treatments? Or, is the current mental health industry causing more harm than healing? How do we accurately deal with psychological distress?