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Spotlight on Social Action

Check out our latest newsletter - The Social Action Issue

 

A Scholar/Activist Examines the Psychology of the Occupy Movement

 

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    Images from Occupy Portland i. .
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    Images from Occupy Portland in spring 2012. Courtesy of Tod Sloan.

In late 2011, Professor of Counseling Psychology Tod Sloan launched the OccuPsy project. Through a Facebook group page, he invited colleagues around the world to apply a critical psychology lens to the Occupy Wall Street movement, posing the question, “What is the essence of Occupy at the psychosocial level?” As a participant-researcher who attended many of the Occupy Portland demonstrations and planning meetings, Sloan became intrigued by what he calls the activists’ “amazing capacity to tolerate chaos, confusion and frustration,” but wondered what it would take for more mainstream citizens to identify with the movement and participate.  

Since early 2012, a group of almost 200 from around the world has maintained the OccuPsy Facebook page, where they post insights and reflections, and organize local discussion groups in Portland and Berkeley.

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There's More to Life Than Being Happy

By Emily Esfahani Smith

"It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

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In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished -- but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, "Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation." Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, "Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?"

 

 

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