The beautiful and the ugly…of human nature

Hi folks,

I know I’ve been away a while but I haven’t gone anywhere. I am no longer at the Douglas Institute but plan to keep blogging for many years to come I hope. This blog will probably move at some point but so far let’s stick with the status quo.

Yesterday I published this article in the Huffington Post. It is on how actions – good or bad – beget similar actions form others. See: We Get To Decide Whether Or Not We’re Good Or Bad People.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty images

From heroic acts like a firefighter running into a burning building to rescue a child to a simple act like a father...

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Preserving death or prolonging death?

Sorry for my long absence but here is something I published yesterday in the Huffington Post. It is a follow up to an earlier post (How would you like to die, Sir?):

PRESERVING LIFE OR PROLONGING DEATH?

Let’s cut to the chase – should we allow euthanasia?

A Quebec man – Michel Cadotte – is facing murder charges after respecting his wife’s request to end her life when her dementia had progressed too far. “I gave in to her demand for help in dying. I’m waiting for the police,” he wrote in a post in March.

When the country was debating the proposed law on assisted dying I wrote about the...

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I am the son of immigrants

What more can be said about Donald Trump’s America that hasn’t been said?

It isn’t even about him in particular. It’s about the mentality he represents. That enough people share his thinking is what’s most disturbing.

Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…

My parents were illiterate immigrants. They never mastered the language, they tilled a makeshift garden next to a railroad track, they hung sausage in the cold room and made wine in their garage. One generation later their three children are all...

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Bell Let’s Talk: Part 2

For last year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day I listed some reasons why we should be more open about our mental health struggles. But what happens when we do open up and seek treatment?
(Published Jan 25, 2017 in the Huffington Post)

Here is just a partial list of some of the biggest issues we might face:

Lack of scientific knowledge
The biggest issue with mental health treatment is that we simply do not have very many answers. It is especially problematic when the consumers of knowledge fall prey to the belief that an expert – by virtue of being an expert – knows everything. If we know one...

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Can we learn from history?

Sorry, folks. It took a while to find my writing discipline again. Here is something I published yesterday on the rising trend of identity politics in the Huffington Post. (See: Tribalism Remains Mankind’s Most Dangerous Instinct)

CAN WE LEARN FROM HISTORY?

Here’s a disturbing thought. If human nature produced the atrocities of the last century, is it any less likely to produce atrocities in this one?

Is there any truth to the adage that those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it? I certainly think so. History is there for the teaching but sometimes it seems we’re just...

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The High School Mantra: I’m a freakin’ loser!

Last March the Huffington Post was running a series on youth mental health. For that series I wrote an article about the theory of mind (the ability to imagine another person’s thoughts) and how the lack of this ability can impact children’s behaviour. This makes them point out differences in classmates because they are oblivious to the how much these comments can hurt. See On lady ‘states and why kids can be so cruel.

This month the Post is again focussing on youth mental health so I decided to follow up on my earlier article. In it I discuss what happens by high school when the theory...

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I can still touch my ceiling!

Hi folks,
I decided to take the easy way out and honour the Rio Olympics by dragging out an old post. It was originally published in this blog in 2012. (I can touch my ceiling…and other great Olympic feats!). A slightly updated version (with unfortunately a much more bland title chosen by them) was published here in the Huffington Post.

(Voici un billet que j’ai publié durant les derniers jeux Olympiques).
I can touch my ceiling and other great Olympic feats.

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Black Man, Dead Man

I published this in The Huffington Post following the events in the US last week: (See What Is Feeding Gun Violence, Racism and Anger).

BLACK MAN, DEAD MAN

Last week’s death toll: two black men following what should have been routine police interventions – or even non-interventions – and five white officers gunned down by a sniper in Dallas. Certainly not a typical week but somehow not all that surprising. So why does this stuff keep happening?

I’m sure everyone has a theory. The politically minded will always trumpet a pet cause such as racism or poverty. But true answers are rarely...

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Killing made easy

Hi, I published this article in the Huffington Post this week in the aftermath of the massacre in Orlando. (see: If You Think ‘Guns Don’t Kill People’ You Are Missing The Point)

KILLING MADE EASY

The National Rifle Association in the United States, and other gun owner lobby groups constantly proclaim the “Guns don’t kill. People kill.” True. But people with guns kill much more efficiently. I suppose that nuclear weapons don’t kill either.

I started writing this column many times. After each mass-shooting spree I would try to complete it but was never quite able to do so. I would finally...

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Screwed up parents, screwed up kids

Screwed up parents, screwed up kids!*

(Chers lecteurs Francophones. SVP, voir la note plus bas. Merci)

Screwed up parents almost always produce screwed up kids but screwed up kids don’t always have screwed up parents.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the ability to ensure our children turned out well-adjusted, functional and happy? I would give anything for that guarantee.

Rats and enriched environments
There were some classic studies that showed a clear pattern: Rats raised in enriched environments appeared to do much better at tests of intellectual functioning than rats raised in regular...

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