How to Fight Moods

In case you do experience a mood (i.e. an inexplicable emotional state), this is what you need to know:

– There is a reason for what you are feeling.

– You can’t see this reason because you don’t think you can afford to know what causes these feelings.

– The feelings you don’t want to acknowledge will keep erupting in the form of moods, trying to get recognized.

– The longer you avoid this recognition, the more likely you are to get really sad or really sick.

The Holy Cow of Moods

Every day, I encounter an article which suggests that it is perfectly normal to have “moods.” Remember our discussion of product placement? The idea of “moods” serves is part of this strategy. Today’s bit of pop culture wisdom on moods is the following:

You already know moods shape your experience.

No, I don’t know anything of the kind. I haven’t had “a mood” in my life. But I know what it’s like to have my “experience” shaped by people who think it’s OK to allow themselves “moods.” And that’s a knowledge I’d rather have done without.

The article proceeds to tell people how to use their “bad moods” to become more productive at work. The possibility of finding the cause of the problem and getting better is not even mentioned.

The New Dr Phil

After a long break, I’m now back to watching Dr Phil (whose show is a hugely important social phenomenon, which needs to be said in case anybody feels an attack of snobbishness approaching). And what really strikes me is how dramatically the show has changed.

Dr Phil is now always completely and adamantly on the side of abused children of all ages. Even just five years ago the opposite was the case. He was all “some kids are just born bad” and “your parents are abusing you for your own good.” Today, that’s all gone and he doesn’t mince words when telling abusive parents how much damage they cause.

This is huge, people, just huge.

The Highest-Paying Liberal Arts Major

By the way, do you know which is the highest-paying Liberal Arts Major? 


So says the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which reports that the top-paying liberal arts majors for 2014 graduates are foreign languages and literature (average starting salary $46,900) and English ($42,200).

These are really great salaries. The problem is that students are not aware of this and still believe that the best way to untold riches is Law School (which is actually a way into extreme penury these days because there is such an overproduction of lawyers.)

The Future of Centralized Authority

The Great Depression was followed by a great consolidation of centralized authority. The Great Recession of 2008-9 has led to the exact opposite: the EU is cracking, Spain is on the brink of dissolution, Scottish independence suddenly became an issue out of completely nowhere, and a disturbing percentage of Americans supports the secession of their state.

Liquid Threats

For people who are saying they are “tired” of hearing about ISIS and Ebola: the way in which a market-state legitimates itself is by proving that it is capable of protecting citizens from 3 things:

1. International terrorism in its most liquid form;

2. Global epidemics in their devastating fluidity;

3. Consequences of natural disasters that, more often than not, will have to do with water, as well. 

There will be two major ways of addressing these threats. One will be an outdated nation-state “let’s close the borders” approach. I just heard this sentiment expressed on Fox News Radio’s discussion of Ebola by people who are not catching on to how obsolete and useless borders have become. An alternative (and much more productive way) will consist of battling the fluidity of these threats by becoming even more fluid than they are.