22 June, 2010

What I'm reading

1. $50,000 for a Green Card

Economist Gary Becker has a solution for the illegal immigration in the U.S. "(C)harge immigrants for citizenship  - $50,000 per immigrant to start" (cite). I skimmed The Telegraph interview Freakonomics cited, and have to admit I think this is a very unrealistic idea. Granted, I am not an Nobel economist, but I have to ask how that would work and how it would not only make illegal immigration worse. I am a citizen but if I had to pay $50,000 to stay here - it would never happen. I would go off the grid. I get the sense that most illegal immigrants in the U.S. send money home to their families and raising $50,000 would take decades, and pull funds from their kin. And then there is how the process works. I wish they had gotten into more details in the interview, I would like to how how Becker, an immigrant himself, sees this tangibly playing out. 

2. John Stewart takes on the Oil Spill

One of my favorite blogs, posted this Daily Show clip. As entertaining as the clip is - I think Matthew's point is worth thinking about:

"The first part of the 3-minutes might upset some of you because you’ll hear Jon poke some fun at Louisiana’s statewide day of prayer to God to fix the oil spill.

"But after that, Jon offers an interesting and even somewhat insightful response as to why he pokes fun." 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Day 62 - The Strife Aquatic
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

2. Loneliness is not Depression. 

Emily White wrote a book on Loneliness.  In a Huffington Post article White writes:

"Loneliness, on the other hand, made me realize that my life might be a damn good life if only a sense of connection would present itself. Feeling isolated and alone didn't leave me delusional. If anything, it left me clear-eyed, and conscious of the fact that my major problem was a lack of intimacy. ... Studies show that when we're told someone is lonely we often conclude that he or she is passive, (mentally) slow, insincere and -for puzzling reasons- uncoordinated. ... (P)eople... describe their loneliness as toxic, brutal, and unceasing. "It's lasted for years," someone might tell me, "No one sees how it destroys my life."

We see commercials for depression and pills to help. I feel depression comes after an imbalance in our lives - chemicals in our bodies are off and the meds can help realign things and give us the chance to face what is going on. Not so with loneliness. I think it is a state of being and it cannot just be treated with meds. I have struggled with loneliness with years (maybe my whole life) and it is not depression. The symptoms are different, it's not a bad day, it's a way of life. White continues: 

"(C)hronic loneliness has overwhelming health risks, leading to dementia, early death, and paradoxically anti-social behavior... Study after study has shown that we're growing exponentially more isolated: we're losing confidants at an unprecedented rate, spending more time alone, living in solitary households, and visiting less with family and friends. As loneliness becomes a greater threat in people's lives, it becomes an increasingly taboo subject.

"Because we're scared of loneliness, we sidestep it. We call it depression. We say that those struggling with long-term loneliness aren't really confronting what they say they're confronting. Compared to loneliness, depression is attractive; it's safe. You can take a pill for depression; you can buy Mind Over Mood or Lifting Depression. You can engage in talk therapy.

"Loneliness is murkier. It's less controllable. It says something about our lives today--about the lack of connection many of us feel---about the way social ties are fracturing like glass. There's no pill for loneliness, no instant cure. Even talk therapy cannot always fill the deep chasm in lonely people's emotional lives."

So what do we do? How do we progress with this? As with anything else, I think the solution starts with discussion and education. I am excited to read White's book because at least someone is speaking to something that plagues a lot of people, and will impact more as our society becomes more and more isolated. 

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© Amanda Lunday