In the first episode of this series, I talk with psychotherapist and author, Dr Aaron Balick, about how technology is impacting our sense of self, society and the quality of our relationships, and what it means to be caught in the battle between validation and recognition.
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Aaron is an author, clinical psychotherapist, and the director of Stillpoint Spaces UK, the London based hub of an international organisation devoted to sharing ideas from depth psychology with the wider public.
As a psychological consultant for the media, he speaks about the impact of social media and technology on the individual and society, and has been the resident agony uncle for BBC Radio 1 and CBBC for several years.
Recently featured on Radio 4 on The Digital Human, Aaron has also been involved in a variety of projects that aim to bring quality mental health content to programming for young people and adults.
1. What’s your greatest concern for the future?
My greatest concern for the future is that are so over-loaded with information that I think we’re not getting our priorities straight. So money flows to places where the most viral campaign is happening at the moment, not necessarily where something needs to happen.
And I would feel much better if there was some grand sifting process that kind of said, “This: plastics in the ocean”, for example. And who am I to say that’s a priority, but it seems to me since it’s going throughout the entire food chain it probably is, but that we’re so distracted that we are losing a sense of A) priority, and B) what our responsibility is to those priories, and C) what is the best way we can club together to resolve some of the major issues that are affecting the planet today.
2. What’s your greatest hope?
I can have quite an optimistic hope in humanity. I’m currently reading Stephen Pinker’s Enlightenment Now book and he also wrote Angels of A Better Nature where he goes on through a series of a lot of evidence to show how human beings actually have been getting better and better over time, killing each other less, fewer wars, hardly any famines anymore. That actually the trajectory might look pretty good. There is a lot of criticism of his work in this area, nobody denies that there are a lot of problems, but the examples I gave you before about small pox and the ozone hole may give me a sense that sometimes the will towards health on a global scale can win out.
3. What single action can we take right now?
So probably something I said a little bit earlier about insight and being honest with oneself. It’s kind of interesting that I answered your two previous questions on a kind of global scale when actually my main job is to work one on one with individuals.
They kind of surprised me there but I think when people are quiet with themselves, insightful about what their needs are, what their vulnerabilities are, their relationships with those closest to them, and honest with themselves about the answers that they get about the questions they ask themselves about that, people make better choices. I would kind of say stop fooling yourself – we all do a lot of the time but take some time out to stop fooling yourself. Find out what your needs are, find out honestly what the real needs and desires of those are that are close to you, have a honest conversation and take it from there.
Find out more
The Little Book of Calm
The Psychodynamics of Social Networking
Keep Your Cool: How to Deal with Life’s Worries and Stress (for 11-15 year olds)
Written, recorded & produced by Nathalie Nahai © 2018.