Every year around this time we begin to plan for and begin working on New Year’s Resolutions. We join gyms, switch out coffee for green-juice and commit to a variety of other goals. Personally, I love this time of year; not only does it provide a boost of motivation, it also creates the ideal environment to assess the state of our minds, bodies and spirits. We can do a complete inner and outer inventory.
Swartz was a passionate activist who believed that the public should have open access to information, which got him into major trouble. He was set to appear in court this past Monday for hacking into MIT’s web servers and accessing their journals – and according to reports, was due to spend some time in jail.
Mashable posted an Op-Ed piece discussing the stigma of Depression in the Techie community. The piece, written by Christina Warren, shared the author’s own battle with depression throughout the majority of her life. She had exchanged emails in the past with Swartz, and the two had both written publicly about their struggles. In the end, Warren says;
“Stigma doesn’t go away until the population hears personal stories from the afflicted. History bears this out, time after time, with each stigmatized group. More stories means creating a culture where future Aaron’s know they can speak out about their suffering”
Swartz’s suicide has affected many of us. It hits close to home.
For those of us who have battled depression, myself included, it a reminder that the disease does not prejudice. It effects the young, the old, the wealthy and the poor. There is no single face to represent it.
The past week however, I believe that the loss of Aaron Swartz has truly jolted many twenty-somethings – members of Generation Y. A few years my junior, I can say that I am one of those individuals who has spent more than a few moments thinking about how tragic a loss his life is.
How his future was so bright.
How his parents must be heartbroken.
How desperate he must have felt toward the end of his life.
Swartz has come to represent the face of so many of my peers.
When less than one quarter of young adults consider themselves emotionally healthy, it is safe to say there is an epidemic occurring.
As for a solution, is sharing our own stories, as Warren pleads in her piece, the best way that we can help to end the stigma associated with depression? Can we shatter the preconceptions about mental illness and replace judgment and ignorance with compassion?
Perhaps compassion can play a major role in shaping the future of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Maybe Aaron’s death does not have to be completely in vain.
If we want to help those suffering from depression, we have to change ourselves. We have to become advocates for compassion and empathy. As Plato said:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.
The speaker for this particular talk is Ann Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor who discovered some interesting findings on body language and its role in the outcome of our lives. In the talk, Cuddy discusses two key factors when it comes to body language: cortisol levels, and testosterone levels. She explains the roles they play, and what the ideal combination is for success in real life situations such as a job interview.
While the message of this talk is essentially “fake it until you become it” – as Cuddy repeats throughout – I took more from it than those six words. Much more.
Take 20 minutes and have a watch. Please share your thoughts below.
Many of us are feeling hopeless right now. Hopeless and helpless, and confused about where the world is headed.
We pray and light candles in remembrance of those tender souls we have lost here on this Earth – but nothing can change what happened.
There are many layers to the tragedy. They pile on top of another.
The loss of innocent lives.
The loss of innocence in those children who survived the tragedy.
The grieving families and community.
The gun control debates.
The mental health issues.
The grieving Nation.
The list goes on.
Like you, my heart is heavy – but I have hope. Hope that there is enough good in this world to lift the heavy weight of despair in our collective consciousness and replace it with quiet calm and love. Some events and situations will just never make sense in our rational minds. This is one of them.
Today I am reminded of this French Proverb; “Hope is the dream of a soul awake.”
Right now it is more important than ever for our souls to be awake. For our focus to be compassion. To recognize that there are no geographical boundaries to the effects of human suffering. To truly push toward making some changes in this world.
My soul is wide awake. I hope that in the wake of this tragedy, yours is too.
Image via Trent University
Do you love your city or town?
I never thought I would be able to say yes to this question, but it turns out I do. I live in a small sized city about 1.5 hours outside of Toronto, and from the moment I moved here almost 4 years ago, I’ve loved it. It has spaces that remind me of home, across the border from Detroit, but it is progressive and the vibe is quite different.
Anyone that lives in a University city can attest to the fact that their school plays a role in the overall feel of the area. Peterborough is no different, and some of their more forward-thinking programs reflect this. In fact, just last week the Business department along with a local Credit Union brought in author and former Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets, Jeff Rubin.
My husband has been a fan of his for quite some time, since his first book “Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller” was released years ago. Recently, his latest book, “The End of Growth” hit bookshelves. Though I read neither, I had a feeling hearing him speak would be a worthwhile evening.
I was right.
For fellow, non-finance folks, here is the gist of his latest book: The price of oil is high, and our only option is to cut back. To change our way of living.
Music to my ears.
Here are some of the highlights from the talk:
- Despite what others say, we will never run out of oil. (He received criticism for inaccurately calling for $200 oil prices)
- Oil is the ONLY efficient means for transport. Natural Gas is about 1/4 as efficient.
- Manufacturing jobs will return to North America from overseas as distance continues to cost more and more.
- The world did not learn anything from the global recession in 2007/2008, as no changes were made to regulation of the financial markets. The next major recession will cause governments to make the changes that should have been made during the Great Recession.
- There is a direct correlation between CO2 emissions, and the state of the economy (GDP). The only time in the last decade that Carbon Emissions has fallen, was during a time at which GDP was falling (ie. recession).
- Denmark is an example of cutting edge green policy, and he uses this country as an example of how increase cost (electricity) results in reduction of consumption.
- The business service industry is so heavily internet based, that it will be effected little by any future economic issues
Overall, I really enjoyed Rubin’s message. It was actually quite hopeful. He closed with the following: “I’m an economist. I believe in the power of prices. I believe that people will adapt to triple-digit oil prices and the way to adapt … is to learn to burn less energy and I think that’s exactly what we’ll end up doing.”
If you have any thoughts or insight into the ideas brought forth by Rubin, please share in the comments below!
The US Presidential election is just around the corner, and although I live in Canada, my Twitter stream is pretty heavy with Political tweets. I have to admit – I’m getting pretty uncomfortable watching it all go down.
What exactly is making me uncomfortable?
As far as I can tell, what is really getting me down is the clear division that is happening between those who identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans. The line has always been there, but inevitably as time progresses, it become thicker.
From acquaintances to family members, the tension is rising and there is a huge increase in the daily conversation about issues such as same sex marriage (Chik-Fil-A anyone?), the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate, Unemployment and the financial crisis, Immigration laws, and more. This, on top of the Obama/Romney bashing that is happening (take your pick). (For the record, I am 100% in support of same sex marriage, it’s been happening here in most Canadian Provinces since around 2003 – but I don’t know enough about the Chik-Fil-A situation to really comment.)
I completely appreciate the passion of every individual that is sharing their opinion and their voice in support of their chosen Political party – but I often wonder how much humanity is lost in Politics. Do political opponents become nameless and faceless? Do friends quickly become foes?
I know that I am laid back about Politics. I joke about being a typical Apolitical Canadian with my American friends. But – I also know that if lived in the US, and it was my family, my children, my friends that were ultimately going to live the outcome of this election, I would probably be right where many Americans are right now – spreading the word, sharing my opinions, etc.
But I am not American – and I am squirming in my seat wondering if we can all just get along – playing mediator whenever I can.