Chief Happiness Officer Edwin

In San Francisco I also met with Edwin Edebiri, Chief Happiness Officer of “I’m Happy Project” that has representatives in 62 cities in 18 countries with the biggest number of members in India ~ 1000. Just by looking at Edwin, you can tell he is a happy person, and you genuinely want to respond back with the same kind smile he approaches everyone. I met with Edwin and his lovely wife at the Pier 3 the day before his birthday. They were going to take an evening cruise for dinner and dancing while in the city. I felt very special [...]

Alone Together (Part Three)

Will our reliance on technology compromise our relationships with humans and will the benefits be on individual and society level? It depends. Someone who had trouble with romance for many years will be living with robot girlfriend, not human girlfriend. If they are happier in personal relationships, they would perform their role better as citizens. As for other humans, they may not like to compete with robots. With Paro children are onto something: the elderly are taken with the robots. Most are accepting and there are times when some seem to prefer a robot with simple demands to a person [...]

Alone Together (Part Two)

One of the important questions in the book is about possible replacement of humans with machines: “Don’t we have humans for those jobs?” In my opinion, it is not one or another, it is better to have a robot than no one. Especially in health care. The point is that there are not enough humans for those jobs… Unfortunately, people have needs that are not always satisfiable by people around us, due to limitations in geographies, extreme conditions, physical limitations… “There are not enough people to take care of aging Americans, so robot companions should be enlisted to help. Beyond [...]

Alone Together (Part One)

Recently I was reading again Sherry Turkle’s book “Alone Together” and would like to share some thoughts about the first part of the book: “The robotic moment: In solitude, new intimacies”. Sherry describes several robots including those available on the market as social companions. They are, to name a few, Aibo, My Real Baby, Seal Paro, GOV, Kismet, Doll Madison, etc. I was surprised to learn how critical Sherry is of robots: tech evil that will corrupt humanity. Let’s look at the simple tech solution called Eliza. It is a program that chats with people, and very often in their [...]

Anatomy of an Epidemic (Part Five)

Many of the people on SSI or SSDI that I interviewed spoke about how they felt they were caught in the tangles of a business enterprise. “There is a reason we are called consumers” was a comment I heard several times. They are right of course that the pharmaceutical companies wasn’t to build a market for their products, and when we view the psychopharmacology “revolution through this prism, as a business enterprise first and a medical enterprise second, we can easily see why psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies tell the stories they do, and why the studies detailing poor long-term [...]

Anatomy of an Epidemic (Part Four)

In his book Anatomy of an Epidemic Robert Whitaker talks about best practices from around the world in treating depression and other mental disorders. One of them is from Finland: The Turku psychiatrists decide on treatment based on case specific, but most important, they settled on group family therapy – of a particularly collaborative type – as the care treatment. Psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and others trained in family therapy all served on two- and three-member “psychosis teams”, which would meet regularly with the patient and his or her family. Decisions about the patient’s treatment were made jointly at those meetings. [...]

Happy For No Reason (Part Two)

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” ~John Milton “According to scientists, we have about 60,000 thoughts a day. It is one thought per second during every waking hour. For the average person, 80 % of these habitual thoughts are negative. Every day we have more than 45,000 negative thoughts. Of those 60,000, 95% are the same thoughts you had yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Your thoughts aren’t always true. We are so accustomed to believing our thoughts are true and automatically reacting [...]

The Businessman and The Fisherman

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish. “How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked. “Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English. “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more [...]

Tips For A Better Life

My parents sent me a presentation called Tips for a better life in Russian. It has blooming cactuses on every slide as a reminder that even dry cactuses can bloom. 1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. 2. Sit in silence for at least 20 minutes each day. 3. Sleep for 7 hours. 4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy. 5. Play more games. 6. Read more books than you did the previous year. 7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for [...]

Kabbalah Love (Class Four)

Our last class took place in Brookline instead of Cambridge, and it was a video recording, as the instructor was away. He spoke to us from the screen: How to connect to love? Major problem with love for many is: it doesn’t stay the same as in the beginning. After initial excitement, you do the same stuff, love is fading away, and things deteriorate. “I think I love the person, but there is no spark?” Look at the job, there used to be a spark, but with time we lost excitement. But if we understand the essence of a relationship, [...]