High-School Believers (Ripe for another Musical)
Teenage years are tough: you don’t know what’s going or who the hell you are. Hormones fire missiles and escape through your cheeks to leave a zit as afterburn. It’s confusing. It’s a simple slip towards the abyss to end up on the wrong side of Prozac. But wait, there’s hope! Turns out there’s a simple cure, one that even Billy Mays wouldn’t believe. Religion is the number one cure for high-school depression.
…a one standard deviation increase in religiosity decreases the probability of being depressed by 11 percent. By comparison, increasing mother’s education from no high school degree to a high school degree or more only decreases the probability of being depressed by about 5 percent.
Funny, isn’t it? What’s most surprising to me is that involvement in school activities and friends doesn’t build bulwarks against stress, at least not in comparison to the mightiness of clasped hands.
People have an understated need for meaning: nourishment for the soul. They don’t need understanding, just the confidence that the knots holding up the foundation are tied tight with intent, that the weirdness of naked existence adds up to something other than a pair of clothes. Meaning is something I want to explore at some point when I get all the information in order.
For now, it seems like therapy is trying to be the church for a secular world, but it can’t sing in tune with the hymns.
Attenborough On Trial
Shots fired! David Attenborough is under attack by one George Monbiot in The Guardian: a person I never cared to know and likely won’t remember. It’s the kind of article that draws a thumb across its neck: “It’s coming for ya Attenborough.” What is Georgie boy so upset about? Attenborough has betrayed the nature-loving community by not signaling the alarm bells for ecological collapse. With great power comes nature documentaries that include an apocalyptic overtone. Attenborough doesn’t play along; he’s the Benedict Arnold of nature.
I have always been entranced by Attenborough’s wildlife programmes, but astonished by his consistent failure to mount a coherent, truthful and effective defence of the living world he loves. His revelation of the wonders of nature has been a great public service. But withholding the knowledge we need to defend it is, I believe, a grave disservice.
The obligations we hold influential people to is endlessly provocative. We can’t help but project our imagination—the way we conduct ourselves if were them—as the one and true path. The only path. Again and again, the powerful are exposed for their bowel movements and we find it disgusting. They’re supposed to be something transcendent: a kind of perfect piety, following what the gods deem worthy—queue a Euthyphro reference.
If I were to give Monbiot some advice it would be this: work on your vocal cords until their silky smooth and full of grace. Then go and make your own documentaries. Push whatever message you like; get a Kickstarter going. Your idol’s in twilight; pick up the torch and inspire your own sun.
If you ever wondered whether equidistance could arise naturally look no further than the Finns. Whether or not the images are shot in Finland I can’t say (I’m not going to source an Imgur post). But I’m somewhat familiar with Nordic antisocialism and this fits the mold for the image I’ve formed.
At a bus stop the Finnish stand at minimum six feet from each other. There’s enough room for them to be waiting within invisible tiny houses. At least it’s ordered. My bus stop experiences are a lesson in chaos as people yell into their smartphones or breathe secret rituals into your ear: “Why are you standing so close to me!” Finland is the perfect place for the misanthrope in all of us.