jeff lieberman – now

jeff lieberman bw

shoot – original no longer available – but here’s one by Jeff:

Jeff – working at the intersection of art and science.

How much might be going on right now, but we might not notice, because we’re not paying attention.

Hidden message we teach everyone (especially via public ed road to success), that now is not the most important thing, that the future is.

The human mind is constantly at work building conceptual models of what it wants to understand. Jeff Lieberman says it shouldn’t always try so hard. If the mind spent more time in contemplation, it might free itself of the need to categorize, theorize, and order the world around it.

Contemplation, he says, it “about sitting with something that is beyond, knowing it’s beyond—it’s not about thinking about something, it’s just being with it.”

Maybe we are living longer, but not deeper. 

The amount of attention you have on what you’re doing affects your happiness twice as much as what you’re doing does.Almost half of people’s day were not on what they were doing. – Harvard research

What was it like (as infants) we we couldn’t even think of alternatives other than now.

Wonder what would happen if everyone in society thought that right now was the most important time in their life.

Perhaps noticing now is enough.

More on Jeff on bif site.


For anyone interested in the meaning of life, our understanding of reality, science, or spirit:

“6 riddles about the meaning of life,” a recent talk I gave at Chicago Ideas Week.

The riddles are:
– Have you ever seen a sunset?
– What makes the perfect vacation?
– What makes you nervous?
– What is your name?
– Where do the stars go at dawn?
– Where do I go when I go to sleep?


CIW: Meaning of Life: Jeff Lieberman from Chicago Ideas Week on Vimeo.


Tomorrow (noun): a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.                        – unknown author – tweeted by Sir Ken Robinson


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Really important for anyone interested in mental health or w a history of depression. As someone who had depression for about 15 years, I was told it was a chemical imbalance and the solution (chemicals) never helped beyond symptomatically (spoiler: fake pharma research).

I had to find out what it was I was “depressing.” Anger, unmet needs, loneliness. Only by expressing what was held in did the depression begin to move. I look forward to the day this is taken as common knowledge, as well as the ways to work with it that for me took so long to uncover.

let’s try this ..  2 convos .. as the day..

a means to practice hari rat park law

“If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.”

All over the world, they were being encouraged to tell patients that depression is, in fact, just the result of a spontaneous chemical imbalance in your brain – it is produced by low serotonin, or a natural lack of some other chemical. It’s not caused by your life – it’s caused by your broken brain.

The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull.

unbroken brain

We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives, and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, Joanne explained, it would require “an entire system overhaul”. She told me that when “you have a person with extreme human distress, [we need to] stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.”

deep enough

I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise – alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse.

We all know that when you take selfies, you take 30 pictures, throw away the 29 where you look bleary-eyed or double-chinned, and pick out the best one to be your Tinder profile picture. It turned out that the drug companies – who fund almost all the research into these drugs – were taking this approach to studying chemical antidepressants. They would fund huge numbers of studies, throw away all the ones that suggested the drugs had very limited effects, and then only release the ones that showed success.

gray research law

It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year. I had thought that I was freakish for remaining depressed while on these drugs. In fact, Kirsch explained to me in Massachusetts, I was totally typical.

This led Professor Kirsch to ask a more basic question, one he was surprised to be asking. How do we know depression is even caused by low serotonin at all? When he began to dig, it turned out that the evidence was strikingly shaky. Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

I kept learning that, in very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us.

It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed – and, crucially, depressed. Humans have an innate need to feel that what we are doing, day-to-day, is meaningful.

eudaimoniative surplus

However, my journey was not simply about finding the reasons why we feel so bad. The core was about finding out how we can feel better – how we can find real and lasting antidepressants that work for most of us, beyond only the packs of pills we have been offered as often the sole item on the menu for the depressed and anxious. I kept thinking about what Dr Cacciatore had taught me – we have to deal with the deeper problems that are causing all this distress.

maté basic needs

To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place

I wanted to tell him (my young self): “This pain you are feeling is not a pathology. It’s not crazy. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. .. It is telling you that you need to be connected in so many deep and stirring ways that you aren’t yet – but you can be, one day.”

If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.

wish we could talk Johann

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


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