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This Week

Finding One’s Self, Losing One’s Self

Labyrinth via Shutterstock

Every Friday we take a look back at the week’s headlines, centering on a theme we’ve singled out as particularly important. This week, when we weren’t trying to find ourselves, we were just getting lost; psychologists were having a field day. The words of Kevin Fanning came to mind, “Sometimes you try to be in the moment, but the moment sucks, and you think back to another moment, which also sucked, but had a twist ending.”

American Psychiatric Association struggles with “culture-bound syndromes”—e.g., pibloktoq, aka “arctic hysteria”:

Depending on whom you ask, the notion that some cultures have their own ways of going crazy is either the ultimate in cultural sensitivity or the ultimate in Western condescension.

Why well-off people shoplift: seizing the opportunity to momentarily exercise control:

…a new wave of middle-class shoplifter is targeting high-end delicacies from supermarkets in order to maintain a lifestyle they could no longer afford.

Haitians struggle to reach Brazil; Brazil struggles to accomodate Haitians:

“I cannot allow the sadness to take over, since opportunity will follow this hard phase,” said Simonvil Cenel, 33, a tailor awaiting a visa who leads animated evangelical prayer services for those stuck in limbo after enduring so much to get here.

Fukuyama on Europeans dealing with immigration:

…European identity is problematic because the whole European project was founded on an anti-national identity basis. It was intended to get beyond the national selfishness and antagonisms that characterized 20th century European politics.

War photographers on the shots that almost killed them:

It can be agonizingly painful to think that all you’re doing is taking pictures.

A haunting account of one man’s seven-year Gitmo imprisonment:

When I arrived at work on the morning of Oct. 19, 2001, an intelligence officer was waiting for me.

Linguist muses over whether “yearning” is an inherently Germanic concept:

Looking at the glosses from various dictionaries suggests that there’s a connotational elephant there that the various lexicographers are grasping from different directions…

Perverts masturbate in Barnes & Noble:

Why didn’t I make a scene? Why was this my first consideration — the calmness of the people around me, not wanting to disturb the peace?

Researchers explain how buffet tables are a microcosm of greed, altruism, and sexual politics:

To devise an optimum strategy, they say, you should take into account what your food rival considers to be the worst food on the table.

Chart: 92 countries ranked by misery.

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