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Bert Olivier

Theoretical psychology in Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city. It is also beyond huge. I thought that Seoul in Korea was huge, with its 16 million inhabitants in the greater metropolitan area, but the equivalent metropolitan area of Tokyo packs approximately 40 million people (a UN report of 2014 put it at 38 million). From the viewing deck of…

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Bert Olivier

The lost sense of community: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan’s recently released feature film Dunkirk not only fills a long-existing gap in cinematic coverage of important historical (particularly wartime) events; it also highlights something of contemporary significance: the glaring difference between the world of the 1940s and that of today, namely the strong sense of community that animated people back then, and which,…

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Psychological Society of South Africa

Creating social capital for mental health: A case study of the Durban advocacy walk

By Suntosh R Pillay On October 15, the Durban community will meet at the North Beach amphitheatre and ‘Step up for Mental Health’. This will be a mass community initiative for Mental Health Awareness Month, organised by the KZN Mental Health Advocacy Group, of which PsySSA KZN is a partner. It is community and social…

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Psychological Society of South Africa

Harm reduction versus abstinence: experts debate drug laws

By Ian Broughton A protest march during SA Drug Policy Week in Cape Town. (File photo: Ashraf Hendricks) South African drug policy is rooted in racism and class discrimination. This was the view expressed by Dr Ethan Nadelmann at the opening of SA Drug Policy Week in Cape Town earlier this month. Nadelmann is the…

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Bert Olivier

‘Only when the last fish has been caught, will you realise that you cannot eat money’

‘Only when the last fish has been caught, will you realise that you cannot eat money’. We are moving perilously close to the actualisation of my paraphrase of these words from the well-known saying attributed to Alanis Obomsawin of the Abenaki tribe northeast of Montreal in Canada. The usual wording of the saying is: “When…

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Bert Olivier

Selfies, the disappearance of the natural world and nihilism

I don’t like shopping malls; they remind me of the weakness of our species when it comes to commodities that they ‘must have’, according to the spurious ethos of the prevailing economic system. Hence, when the woman in my life asked me to accompany her to that monstrosity known as the Baywest mall, outside the…

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Psychological Society of South Africa

At age 55 I began to hear voices: My journey into and out of madness

by Greg Shankland It was while living in New York City at age 55 that I suddenly began to hear voices, out of the blue. How did a smart, accomplished businessman succumb to fear and paranoia, to mania and unusual beliefs, so suddenly and so quickly? Importantly, how did I break through it? The first…

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