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Fancypants

Affluenza

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any one read this?

I'm slowly making my way through it now - good book, preaching to the converted in my case, but still worth a read.

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I haven't read the book, but, I'm still happy to give my $.02 worth. First of all, hasn't "affluenza" been around for ages? cf. Ecclesiastes. Maybe that's part of his argument, but it certainly isn't some new "condition".

Second, I don't rate OJ as a psychologist, particularly. He's a bit too anti-biological psychiatry for his own good.

Like the new avatar FP!

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I nearly bought that book today from Borders Bookshop, looks like a new release- not sure you are talking the same book RichM. The book does look like a good read although i fear that we are all aware of the situation with consumerism - in a sense we are all already converted, its just that most of us dont do anything about it.

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I nearly bought that book today from Borders Bookshop, looks like a new release- not sure you are talking the same book RichM. The book does look like a good read although i fear that we are all aware of the situation with consumerism - in a sense we are all already converted, its just that most of us dont do anything about it.

Hi Rikk,

From amazon.co.uk:

Synopsis

There is currently an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses - that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, bestselling author Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why. He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading. Cities he visited include Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Copenhagen, New York and Shanghai, and in each place he interviewed several groups of people in the hope of finding out not only why this is happening, but also how one can increase the strength of one's emotional immune system. He asks: why do so many more people want what they haven't got and want to be someone they're not, despite being richer and freer from traditional restraints? And, in so doing, uncovers the answer to how to reconnect with what really matters and learn to value what you've already got. In other words, how to be successful and stay sane.

From the Publisher

World-renowned psychologist, Oliver James, tours the minds of the affluent middle classes, in search of an answer to the question: is it possible to be successful and stay sane?

I don't see how this is a new "condition", though the particular book maybe very new! People have been rich and unfulfilled since time immemorial. If you haven't read Ecclesiastes then you might know Petronius' Satyricon, and the excesses of the bored Roman super-rich he describes.

There's certainly more people in this camp today, as we're more materially rich. I have no problem with psychologists helping the "affluent middle classes", but I see no point in pathologising what is essentially a philosophical/existential matter rather than a "mental illness". Surely this is really the domain of politicians, theologians, and philosophers? Maybe people who are very well off should feel down at times! Feeling bad because you can't "keep up with the Joneses" might just be plain selfish self-obsession.

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Hi Rikk,

From amazon.co.uk:

I don't see how this is a new "condition", though the particular book maybe very new! People have been rich and unfulfilled since time immemorial. If you haven't read Ecclesiastes then you might know Petronius' Satyricon, and the excesses of the bored Roman super-rich he describes.

There's certainly more people in this camp today, as we're more materially rich. I have no problem with psychologists helping the "affluent middle classes", but I see no point in pathologising what is essentially a philosophical/existential matter rather than a "mental illness". Surely this is really the domain of politicians, theologians, and philosophers? Maybe people who are very well off should feel down at times! Feeling bad because you can't "keep up with the Joneses" might just be plain selfish self-obsession.

always pleased to read a professional's comments Rich :)

you are probably right, but it doesn't change the underlying power of the message - that lusting for wealth is like throwing your soul into a bottomless pit of unhappiness. The only way to liberate yourself is to see the illusion for what it is. No doubt James is just putting new clothes on an old body, but its a message which is probably more relevant and necessary today than it ever has been before.

One thing the church did tell people, traditionally, was to accept their humility. In throwing off the power of the clergy, we have liberated ourselves through faith in the redemptive power of material wealth. This can now be seen at "modern" churches throughout London where it seems that the message is "God can make you a millionaire (please give generously)"... :rolleyes:

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One thing the church did tell people, traditionally, was to accept their humility. In throwing off the power of the clergy, we have liberated ourselves through faith in the redemptive power of material wealth. This can now be seen at "modern" churches throughout London where it seems that the message is "God can make you a millionaire (please give generously)"... :rolleyes:

....we also have sackloads of latter-day Savonarolas, in the shape of "deep greens", ALFers, crank-diet fetishists, 'alternative' medicine quacks (like Alexei Sayle's definition of an 'alternative' comedian) and countless flavours of eco-fascists and other anti-humanists, all urging us peasants to cremate our possessions in the piazza, in order to save the world, as its rulers are concerned that we're cacking the place up too much for them and their progeny to enjoy it.

Edited by Wario

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Just finished the aforementioned publication. A very good read with some interesting observations/insights. I particularly liked the cultural comparisons. To be recommended.

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Currently half way through- the overwhelming theme/ point that he makes is that the advent of printed advertising and faster media communication has exacerbated the virus eg tv, mags, Internet etc as the visual images advertisers use to spread the 'virus' are so immediate and fast: the virus has always existed (the tulip rush, Greek ideals of body image etc, the NEED to wear huge white wigs to be cool 300 years ago) but it's now harder to avoid the visual bombardment and confusion between needs and wants. Hence I make a home visit to the parent of a pupil I teach who is on incapacity benefits and basically on the bread line and see a hugh flat screen tv, DVD, playststion and laptop (none of which I can afford or need). I later hear via pupil it's all been sent back to the shop and realise it's some god foresaken shop like brighthouse, that feeds and satisfies affluenza viruses and identifies all these things as utter needs in today's society. My pupil couldn't stand one one leg to kick a football or recognise numbers to 20 until he learnt which channel cbeebies was on (27) and I ran a programme of lots of 'physio' (football!).

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