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Archive for the 'Psychology' Category

Choosing Intimate Partners: To Repeat or Not to Repeat?

April 7th, 2008 by Howard Ditkoff

Why do we repeatedly attract similarly unhealthy intimate partners and relationship patterns? Should we seek to escape such seemingly self-destructive cycles through safer, less intense relationships? Or do these patterns serve a purpose that we must respect, instead using a new approach to harness their energies toward healing and growth?

In the midst of yet another challenging relationship, I deeply explore the unconscious roots and mechanisms of this “repetition compulsion” in the chemistry of our relationships. I also initiate a discussion about the dilemmas, paradoxes, catch-22’s, risks and rewards posed by two contrasting approaches to compatibility and conflict. In an era of dangerous polarizations and threats that demand engagement and resolution, it is a topic of great relevance to our families, society and world.


Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident: A Psychological Study in Issues of Power, Anger and Authority

September 20th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

In just the latest demonstration of how widespread video and web 2.0 technology is democratizing our media and revealing previously underexposed sides of our culture, much of the country has already seen footage of student Andrew Meyer being held down and tasered by police after rather angrily confronting Senator John Kerry with some controversial questions at a forum and resisting arrest. But more fascinating to me than the event itself have been the strongly emotional responses, both by those defending Meyer and those defending the police, which indicate the extent to which the incident evokes, for many of us, past experiences, defense mechanisms and projections revolving around issues of power, anger and authority. In this post, I discuss my view of this controversial story in the context of our current social state and the possible psychological and developmental roots of the actions of Andrew Meyer and the police, as well as people’s various responses.


My Scheme Team Dream: Partners Wanted for Shaping and Changing The World

September 19th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Scheming – or creating schemas – helps us shape a clear understanding of how the various parts of systems relate and connect. It then empowers application through developing strategic, intriguing, and often subversive plans to create innovative change in the world – for better or for worse. After a period of undefined frustration, a discussion with a friend helped me pinpoint my recent lack of partners with whom to co-scheme as the root of my dissatisfaction.

In this post, I discuss what scheming means to me and its central role in my worldview and throughout my life in areas ranging from math, medicine and sports to relationships, politics and business. I explore key examples of special shared moments, evolutionary factors and enviably successful teams that explain the excitement and rewards of co-scheming. And, in the service of initiating connection and dialogue with dynamic new “partners in crime,” I describe the similar and complementary assets and qualities that I and they would ideally bring to such an emergent and generative partnership. Read my thoughts on the process and goals of co-scheming at its best and consider whether you might be one of the fellow co-schemers I’m looking for.


The Challenges of Accepting Civilization as Unsustainable and Unhealthy

August 27th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn in 1997 first exposed me to the idea that civilization is an inherently unsustainable and unhealthy social structure. But it took further reading of works by Quinn and Derrick Jensen, along with greater experience, to help me increasingly incorporate this understanding into my life. Most recently, Jensen’s work Endgame impacted me with a particularly convincing presentation of civilization’s shortcomings from the concrete and powerful perspective of physical resource dynamics.

In this post, I examine the paramount importance of internalizing the implications of our social structure’s fundamental flaws, the experience of facing the impact of this understanding, why it is to difficult to fully internalize, the variety of ways that people respond to the issue, and how my growing acceptance of it has influenced my life journey. I then discuss the process of finding our optimal roles in the re-emergence of health and sustainability and the invaluable role of community and support as we do so.


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 4

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Moral Courage as a Central Theme in Michael Moore’s Work and Life (Part 4 of 8)

Note: This is Part 4 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.
I believe, and seeing Sicko again reinforced, that Michael Moore is one of our greatest examples […]


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 3

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Moral Courage: A Required Virtue for Improving Our Society (Part 3 of 8)

Note: This is Part 3 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.

Psychological Dissonance: The Cost of Keeping Quiet
In our society, we have a great number of “elephants in the room” […]


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

In his previous films, Michael Moore opened minds regarding injustices in deeply emotional areas including corporate responsibility, gun violence, 9/11 and the Iraq War. In Sicko, and his related appearances, he has pursued change in the American health care system. But Moore’s work and life embody two underappreciated themes even more central to social change in America – moral courage and campaign, election and media reform. In this eight-part series of posts, I explore the importance of these intertwined themes and their relation to Michael Moore. I then propose a formula for focusing influential individuals and organizations on these core leverage points to stimulate fundamental, sustainable sociopolitical reform in America.


The Joy and Power of Discovering True Selves

July 9th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

In this day and age, many forces conspire to repress our true selves, passions and talents. This makes moments when we suddenly discover something real and genuine – whether an important idea or a musician that exudes soul - extremely moving and powerful. Regaining our true selves leads to purpose and fulfillment, qualities that are crucial in regaining a healthy path for our society and our world. Learn about some ideas (Instant Runoff Voting) and artists (Norah Jones, Amos Lee, Chris Daughtry, Meghan Julius and Kiersten Holine) that exhibit this genuine quality and why there are more resources and tools available than ever before to help you gradually find, develop and promote your talents.


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