The Matrix Ate My Homework – Are Influencers The New Cults?

The world has known its fair share of cult leaders. From Charles Manson and David Koresh and R. Kelly, history is punctuated by the coercive and often deadly activities of individuals who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to tap into extremism’s zeitgeist.

Predominantly male (of the 68 cult leaders deemed worthy of their own page on Wikipedia, only 8 are women – though what they lack in number as leaders they seem to more than make up for in body count of victims), cult leaders trade on charisma, manipulation, and the creation of a strong sense of community and belonging.

It seemed for a while that organised cults that tended to exist in or gravitate toward communes – primarily a phenomenon of the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Ei...

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Mind The Pleasure Gap

Mind The Pleasure Gap

“I feel like I live my life at 60%. I know there’s a lot more happiness out there that I’m sure I could have, but I’d probably also have to feel more of the downside of everything, too.”

 You know those bad days that we all have from time to time, when we feel hemmed in by life and nothing seems to be going our way? And we’re wallowing in self-pity, wondering why everyone else seems to be having it so good? Don’t be shy – we’ve all been there.

Those are the days when you think you couldn’t feel any more downbeat about the track your life is currently on, an expensive car pulls up to the kerb, the door opens and the person who gets out looks exactly like you thought you should have been by n...

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Why Magical Thinking Is The Worst Drug

Why Magical Thinking Is The Worst Drug

In 1939, the New Yorker published a short story titled The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Written by James Thurber, the partially autobiographical story and the expanded novel that followed three years later introduced readers to a meek and unassuming man with a wild fantasy life.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story (film versions have starred Danny Kaye and Ben Stiller), you’ll find no spoilers here. But it’s enough to say that Walter has what might be best described as an incidental relationship with reality.

During rare lucid moments when reality does intrude on Walter’s overpowering fantasy life (he believes himself to be, among other things, a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a louche killer), he is confronted by a world he doesn...

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Tell-tale Signs Of Child Anxiety – And What To Do About Them

Tell Tale Signs Of Child Anxiety

The problem with parenthood is that children don’t come with a handbook or a manual. 

Even though childhood is a lived experience for us adults, it’s not one we remember clearly – and certainly not the very early years. So we begin our journey as parents with no frame of reference.

We have to learn our child’s behaviours from a position of more or less total ignorance, aside from the natural instincts that millions of years of evolution give us.

We have to learn to understand how our child communicates, and it’s a language that is foreign to most of us – even for those of us who might already have a child.

And because it’s often hard for us to interpret this new verba...

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Why The Reality Of Reality TV Is One We Should Avoid At All Costs

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It’s now thought that around 70% of UK TV audiences regularly watch reality TV shows.

As statistics go, it’s at the more depressing end of the spectrum, especially when you consider that the genre itself is the ultimate misnomer: there really is nothing real about reality TV.

There are those shows – like Gogglebox, Location Location Location and Grand Designs, for example – that have their feet firmly planted in the world of entertainment. These are shows where the participants may be front and centre on our screens (and they can – and do – play to the camera), but they are not the sole focus of the programme itself.

But those that are centred purely on the human condition and have been con...

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Anxiety? You Don’t Have To Live With It

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety in London

Anyone who has experienced anxiety, or has been close to someone who has, knows how debilitating and destructive it can be.

Some commentators are quick to dismiss anxiety as a ‘modern illness’ and indeed there has been a marked increase in reported anxiety amongst the general public in the last few years, but the truth is it is a difficult condition to live with.

Of course, sometimes anxiety is a perfectly normal and useful way to respond. It is our body’s natural response to a perceived threat. When we are faced with potentially harmful situations it makes sense for our ‘fight or flight’ response to be triggered.

When this happens, cortisol and adrenaline are released into our systems. These cause our heart to beat faster, our body...

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Crisis? What Crisis?

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If you’re someone who gets their daily news fix from BBC News Online you could be forgiven for thinking that people like me spent the whole of the pandemic making a mountain out of a mental health molehill.

Apparently, according to the BBC news feed this week, all that time I spent jumping up and down between March 2020 and … well, now, really … calling on the Government to take seriously the impact of its lockdown on mental health and invest more in the provision of desperately needed acute and counselling services was all just wasted breath.

Because, you see, according to the BBC the real impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health was minimal.

Quoting a British Medical Journal study, the ...

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On The Origins Of Monsters

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Let’s start by saying this: Ghislaine Maxwell deserves every last day of the 20 years she will spend behind bars for procuring young girls for her rich financier boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to molest in massage rooms.

She is a monster in every sense of the word, and even more so, it could be argued, than Epstein himself. The sexual abuse he visited upon his victims is as horrific as anything you might imagine. It can’t be minimised or mitigated, and nor should it be. Ever.

But the horror of Maxwell’s own role in his crimes is amplified further simply by virtue of the fact she was a woman who betrayed young women who had every right to believe in her, by failing to protect them.

She has been vilified has a traitor to her gender. Somehow, t...

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What Happened To #BeKind?

What Happened To Bekind

In the 1980s (1983, if we want to be precise about it) there was a movie called War Games, starring Brat Packers Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. 

It’s a good, if fairly generic, 80s teen buddy film – and there were a lot of those about at the time – in which computer whiz kid Broderick finds a back door into a US defence computer designed to simulate various war scenarios with the then-Soviet Union – and accidentally manages to trick it into thinking the Russians were launching a real nuclear strike against America.

Ultimately global thermonuclear war is averted by programming the computer, called Joshua, to play continuous games of noughts and crosses (don’t ask, that’s what Google’s for).

So, why am I talki...

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2022 Has Reached It’s Final Destination – All Change Please

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Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it? 

There we were, meandering gently towards the end of 2021 and looking forward to what we hoped would be a relatively normal year and before you know it we saw war in Ukraine, endured an economy in meltdown, said a tearful farewell to Her Maj and watched the UK change prime ministers more often than Imelda Marcos changes her shoes.

And that was just the big stuff. 

What we all need now is a bit of peace and quiet – time to reflect and recharge, a little oasis of calm in which to breathe, take stock and re-energise ourselves for a new year with new challenges and new opportunities.


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