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    Mental HellthP.E. Moskowitz2/10/2115 min
    13 reads11 comments
    Mental Hellth
    13 reads
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    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScout
      1 year ago

      Dynamite! Quite dense, but worth it. I probably read it too fast, but I couldn't help it. I just ate it all up. I'll definitely need more time to synthesize.

      The primary thesis here (I think?) is that capitalism splits us up into multiple identities. That's something I have a hard time wrapping my head around. What follows though seems very profound while also obvious: we're sold this idea that we're broken and need fixing. That part came through crystal clear.

      I'm very thankful for this new way of thinking about ADHD. Clear, smart, insightful stuff.

      If you sometimes feel like you're going crazy (and who doesn't?) this one's for you.

      • L-A1 year ago

        I'd say the other part of the thesis is that identity is how we find community. By breaking down identities fast, and offering new ones just as fast, we're constantly seeking a "new" definition for ourselves.

        At this speed, the slower rhythm required to find mutual comprehension between different peers feels inappropriate. Positive bonds, and negative adversities, are decided in a flash (through shared or disparate identities) and dispensed just as fast.

        • chronotope1 year ago

          Yeah, but not just that. I think it also is talking about how capitalism as a system interested in selling us stuff is therefore interested in breaking down our internally moderated identities to throw many externally built identities at us because they can be generated quickly, around capitalistic ideas or products, and make us think that paying for things is part of our identity. When it does that, it also pushes us into wanting and holding on to these identities that are artificially and entirely externally constructed and it means that our mental issues are only exacerbated because they are re-centered in the conceit that capitalism is the only way to interact with our society and blocks off our capacity to seek solutions elsewhere. The problem it is pointing to is how capitalism becomes intrinsic to our identity and blinds us to the capacity to interact with others outside of value exchanges, most notably labor for capital and capital for goods.

          • bill
            Top reader of all timeScout
            1 year ago


            Read this entire thread 3 or 4 times. I can't overstate the extent to which these comments are helping me to figure out the meaning of this article.

      • DellwoodBarker1 year ago

        The primary thesis here (I think?) is that capitalism splits us up into multiple identities.

        This brings to mind the scene at the end of an 80’s kid/teen film (I think it is the one that paired several of the boys from Stand By Me on a spaceship adventure or sci-fi). I may be misremembering but towards the end I recall an alien tuning into our tv channels and suddenly going ballistically Peewee Herman-esque with all the identities channeling through. Any one else recall this scene or film? That is what I thought of.

    • jeff
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      1 year ago

      I'm going to take a stab at addressing the searing rage I felt while reading this piece. I'm sure the author is correct that some people were angry because they were made to feel insecure in their "micro-identities", but I've got a different take. I've had conversations before about how capitalism has somehow come to mean something other than the economic system, but the author is literally talking about it in an academic sense here, so I feel like it's appropriate to assume we're using the dictionary definition.

      I feel like the author's attacks on capitalism are actually an attack on individuality. I think they have it completely backwards. Capitalism is not doing anything to us. Rather, capitalism is allowing us to be unburdened by traditional restrictions on our individual identity. Like everything, this comes with a cost. It's a struggle to find oneself, but it's preferable to all the alternatives that I can think of.

      In other words, capitalism must give us things to make sense of the world because capitalism has taken all our inherent internalized senses of self and community away.

      What is this "inherent internalized senses of self and community"? I'd argue it's a code phrase for domination. The domination of strict gender roles and limited opportunities for mobility in primitive societies, the domination of a single religion and the church in theocracies, the domination of the political party and the state in socialist countries, the domination of homogenous ethnicity and traditional culture in ethnostates. We all know about the paradox of choice. It can be easier to have an immutable identity assigned to you at birth, but it's not worth it in exchange for an "internalized sense of self and community."

      As for the author's proposed alternative to capitalism:

      “A successful contemporary politics has stakes in defining the rhythmic flow between schizophrenic and identificatory impulses,” he writes. “Hopefully, alternative rhythms can challenge, or at least syncopate, the accelerating rhythm of late capitalism.”

      If this sounds like the "start of a good solution" to you... well I'm not going to accuse you of being mentally ill, because I do agree that stringent diagnoses and stigmatization are terrible things (seriously that half of the article was a solid 10), but I will say it shows a disturbing lack of knowledge about economics and history, particularly about the tens of millions of human lives that have been lost in the past century to misguided attempts at establishing alternatives to capitalism.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        1 year ago

        I read this a few hours ago. Thought about it. Read it again. Here's my reply:

        I love the opener:

        I'm going to take a stab at addressing the searing rage I felt while reading this piece.

        A very exciting first sentence. When I first read it, and saw how long the comment was (meaning, before I knew what you were about to rail on lol) I really thought I knew, and I was completely wrong.

        I thought you were going to be like This is such a huge pile of academic shit. These people (both the Buzzfeed dude and the author) use extremely verbose language and they're not even actually SAYING anything.

        To be honest, that's how I felt, a little bit, which is why I was hoping you would put words to that feeling - Like we're all just totally posturing by even pretending to understand the connection between identity and capitalism, because I mean wtf, we just swim in both, like fish in water. There aren't answers, there are only opinions.

        Funny thing is that then, ironically, I had that thought about your comment lol. like: Why is Jeff beating around the fuckin point with such bonkers language?

        I have since changed my mind. This post is fuckin charged, interesting and honest, which is everything 💯🆙

        The sentence I agree with the most:

        Rather, capitalism is allowing us to be unburdened by traditional restrictions on our individual identity.

        The sentence I disagree with most:

        Capitalism is not doing anything to us.

        It's interesting that they're back to back.

        The very last portion of the last paragraph is the total high point. (I love a comment that ends on a bang!) I believe that I can imagine an alternative and I am sure it's misguided in some ways, but we've got to keep trying. Reality, right now, is nowhere near good enough.

    • DellwoodBarker1 year ago

      Excellent Read! Pings so many lights on the pinball machine, personally.

      ...and yet more and more we are chained to the idea that mental illness is inherent and forever.

      Diagnosis’ and labels limit us if we allow them to. I Imagine we are all different contextual cases as the writer theorizes and in extreme cases there may appear to be or realistically be stronger boundaries of impossibility to break through; however, in my core I Imagine Us shifting as a society and global awareness into creating innovative patterns of healing that transcend Us from the “chains...inherent and forever.”

      Another Illumination:

      If we cannot commune with each other, relate to each other, love each other, argue with each other, without feeling that we are irreconcilably different because of something endemic to our psyches (you have ADHD, I have BPD, we are not the same), we lessen the chance that we will be able to build actual solidarity, and fight against the structures that cause us all to feel so mentally ill.

      There is much Gold Here.

    • L-A1 year ago

      At different moments in the read, the Buzzfeed vocabulary wore thin, but the foundation of this article resonates with me to my core.

    • elioty1 year ago


    • chronotope1 year ago

      Wow this is a great piece, smart, on point and so insightful as to how modern online identity works and is commoditized. My fav read so far this month.