New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

Meta-analysis comparing 18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health: “Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.”

Source: New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

While carefully avoiding any conclusion relating to causation, this new study – which compared “18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health (which was narrowed down to depression, anxiety, deliberate self-harm, stress perception, and quality of life)” and which included 149,559 meat-consumers and 8,584 meat-abstainers from Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania – nonetheless found a striking correlation.

“The researchers found ‘clear evidence’ that those who abstained from consuming meat tended to have higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm compared to those who did not.”

Quite a bit higher, in fact! The Toronto Sun, in a report on this study, notes that “the study found people eating a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and just about three times more likely to contemplate suicide. It also indicated that 33% of vegetarians suffer from depression or anxiety.” That is pretty dramatic, and it is not an isolated phenomenon. As study author Urska Dobersek, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana, states,

“‘My co-authors and I were truly surprised at how consistent the relation between meat-avoidance and the increased prevalence of mental illness was across populations. As we stated in our conclusion, ‘Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health,’ Dobersek told PsyPost.”

That is certainly a gentle, and politically-correct, way to express the matter! Dobersek does, however, make a significant, if carefully-phrased, recommendation:

“Our study provides further evidence that because humans are omnivores, it is illogical and potentially unhealthy to recommend “eating a varied diet” followed by a long list of foods, beverages, and nutrients to avoid (e.g., meat, eggs, sugar, salt, fat, fruit juices, cholesterol, etc.). This is especially true, as my co-authors demonstrated, when the proscriptions and recommendations are based on a ‘fictional discourse on diet-disease relations.’”

To which I would only add, in the words of the “Selkirk Grace,”

“Some have meat and canna eat, and some have nae that want it. But we have meat, and we can eat, so let the Lord be thankéd!”

 

 

PSA: Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, C-19) precautions

C-19 Precautions

There is a lot of mixed information, and most likely a lot of misinformation, out there about the current outbreak / pandemic of what, for simplicity, I’ll call C-19. There are, it seems to me, two general category errors that a lot of people are making, currently.

The first is panic / gloom-and-doom pessimism: “It’s going to kill us all! Millions dead! It’s the end of the world as we know it! And it’s all Trump’s fault!” To people on that side of the spectrum, let me say, take a chill-pill. For one thing, there is no situation that it helped by panic. For another, the stark and, yes, frightening “worst-case scenarios” are precisely that: what might happen if governments and people do nothing.

But a lot is being done. Social distancing and voluntary isolation – even, yes, government-enforced shutdowns and quarantines, as little as us liberty-minded folks like them – do a great deal to break the chain of transmission. So do closing borders, although it can certainly be argued that that should have been done sooner!

Moreover, there are tremendous efforts underway in labs across the nation and world to bring new antiviral therapies and even vaccines online, and there is a lot of promising being done. We are by no means out of the woods yet; but the chance of a mass die-off is, while not zero, at least fairly unlikely. Particularly if proper precautions, such as those in the graphic above, are utilized.

And that brings me to the other significant error I see in this: the idea that “oh, it’s just a bad cold!” Or, “oh, it’s just another flu” – with the assumption being that it’s not that big of a deal; it’s an over-reaction, or worse yet a hoax, and I don’t really have to change my behavior or worry about this thing.

That attitude, frankly, could get you killed. Or worse yet, get someone you care about killed: your grandparent, your friend or relative who is immuno-suppressed or has an underlying condition you didn’t know about. Too many knowledgeable people, who have no reason to be advancing a hoax, have sounded warnings about this for me to take it lightly.

I was, frankly, horrified to see the videos of college kids on Spring Break in Florida hanging all over each other on the beach like nothing was wrong. Yes, when you’re that age, you think you’re immortal, invincible – right up until something happens. Stupidity shouldn’t be lethal, but it often is – and it’s not always the stupid one who suffers.

So it’s not only or even primarily what might happen to them; it’s what they may take back to their communities, and more vulnerable members of those communities. And while younger people do tend to have milder effects from this thing, they’re not immune: 1 in 5 of those hospitalized in the US are younger adults, between 20 and 44.

But if ignorance, foolishness, and chance-taking go with the young, what is even more frustrating is older adults, including some who should be thoughtful, intelligent, and responsible, who are not yet taking this with the seriousness it deserves. Most of those are skeptics because they assume that it is an attempted Deep State takeover, or part of the vendetta against President Trump, or both.

To be fair, I think there are very real dangers to our Constitutional rights and civil liberties stemming from government actions to limit the effects of this virus, and they will increase the longer the threat continues, and the more drastic the steps taken to contain it. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as the old saying goes.

This is particularly the case since, unlike (for instance) World War Two, in which  the American people had to put up with some pretty extreme government limitations – including rationing of fuel and foodstuffs, censorship of mail, and even limitations on travel – there is not necessarily a clear and obvious end-game.

The war against the Axis had a definitive conclusion: surrender, and the signing of peace-treaties. The war against a virus isn’t likely to end on the deck of a battleship. Like the also-nebulous “War on Terror,” there will always be a new virus, a new threat, and a new (or worsening) temptation to misuse power, even for good reasons. And of course, not everyone in the government has pure motives, and the Deep State does exist.

But that is a separate (though related) issue from limiting the spread of a dangerous virus. If the government oversteps, that’s a problem; but it is, in my view, a more serious and immediate problem to refuse to take the danger posed by C-19 seriously, or neglect to take appropriate steps to mitigate it, just because one is concerned that the government will take Rahm Emanuel’s infamous dictum (“never let a good crisis go to waste”) to heart.

At minimum, the suggestions in the infographic above provide reasonable, common-sense precautions that will help prevent or limit the spread not only of C-19, but of other dangerous viruses as well. The top two apply to everyone (and the instructions for hand-washing should apply to all times, not just pandemics); the lower one is for those whose state or municipality has not already imposed more stringent restrictions.

Yes, by all means let’s keep a weather-eye on the government! But in the meantime, let’s also do what we can to prevent C-19 from becoming even more of a problem than it is already. The life you save may be your own… or a beloved grandparent’s.


And don’t forget to wash those paws!

https://sites.google.com/site/handwashing27/_/rsrc/1364247482412/contact-us/handwashing_2009_e.jpg?height=403&width=550
Obviously, you can also use bar soap! Just make sure you work up a nice lather.

 

Empty shelves: a rant on coronavirus and globalism

In which the Anglophilic Anglican goes off on a rare political rant. Rare on video, anyway! I do often rant in writing… *wry smile* My apologies in advance for the length and rambling nature of this!

 

Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Fresh air, sunlight and improvised face masks seemed to work a century ago; and they might help us now.

Source: Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

“When new, virulent diseases emerge, such as SARS and Covid-19, the race begins to find new vaccines and treatments for those affected. As the current crisis unfolds, governments are enforcing quarantine and isolation, and public gatherings are being discouraged.

“Health officials took the same approach 100 years ago, when influenza was spreading around the world. The results were mixed. But records from the 1918 pandemic suggest one technique for dealing with influenza — little-known today — was effective. Some hard-won experience from the greatest pandemic in recorded history could help us in the weeks and months ahead.

“Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients, and infections among medical staff… The open-air regimen remained popular until antibiotics replaced it in the 1950s.”

However, as many are aware, some diseases are becoming antibiotic-resistant, these days; while others, such as coronavirus, are viral, and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics anyway (although antibiotics may help with secondary infections, if those are not resistant).

I remember my mother always wanted us to get as much fresh air and sunshine as possible when we were sick – and yes, it did seem to help mitigate the severity and duration of colds and flu (both of which are viral). At the very least, spending as much time outside as possible can’t hurt! I can think of no health situation which fresh air and sunlight would worsen.

And it might even help…

 

Coronavirus reveals the weakness and danger of the “global economy”

Image result for us reliant on china for drugs

I certainly hope and pray that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic does not end up having the kind of global impact – and especially, is not as damaging and deadly here in the US, and in other Western countries, where cases have so far been few in number – as some doomsayers seem to take perverse pleasure in predicting.

But if nothing else, I hope it does point out the weakness and danger of globalism: both open borders, and the off-shoring of major chunks of our economy, especially manufacturing. Cheap consumer goods (and cheap – not to say exploited – labor) are not the only things that can circulate freely, in such an environment.

Perhaps most sobering is the fact that we are reliant on China – China, the source of the outbreak, and the country hardest-hit by it – for many of our drugs!

As this article from last month points out,

“Everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, from antidepressants to Alzheimer’s medications to treatments for HIV/AIDS, are frequently produced by Chinese manufacturers. What’s more, the most effective breathing masks and the bulk of other personal protective equipment — key to containing the spread of coronavirus and protecting health care workers — and even the basic syringe are largely made in China.”

Another article notes that “the Food and Drug Administration estimates that at least 80 percent of the active ingredients found in all of America’s medicines come from abroad – primarily China,” and asks us to “imagine if China turned off that spigot.” Or if we are forced to turn it off ourselves, due to issues like coronavirus! A third article points out the hazards of contamination of generic drugs manufactured abroad:

“What’s responsible for the repeated drug safety lapses? The offshoring of the American drug supply to China and, to a lesser extent, India during the past couple of decades.”

It continues,

“China and India now manufacture about 80% of the drugs consumed in the U.S. This figure understates China’s dominance because many of the active ingredients in the Indian manufactured drugs come from China. The U.S. doesn’t even manufacture vital drugs like antibiotics anymore [emphasis added], with the last penicillin factory closing in 2004.”

That is chilling, or should be.

Particularly in the face of the current situation, in which reliable supplies of drugs are critical! But unfortunately, as USA Today notes,

“The coronavirus outbreak is sparking fears of drug shortages in the U.S., largely due to its disruption of pharmaceutical supplies from China and India.  The Food and Drug Administration has warned of shortages in one drug due to the coronavirus, while penicillin shipments to the U.S. from China have dried up [again, emphasis added]. The FDA said it expects the outbreak of COVID-19 to cause ‘potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S.'”

And to make matters worse, as yet another article points out, “the U.S. is woefully unprepared to address even minor disruptions in the supply of these drugs.” This article continues,

“Medicines can be used as a weapon of war against the United States,” Rosemary Gibson, a senior adviser on health care issues at the bioethics-focused Hastings Center and co-author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, told lawmakers last month. “Supplies can be withheld. Medicines can be made with lethal contaminants or sold without any real medicine in them, rendering them ineffective.”

Then there is the whole issue of “just in time” logistics, a primary feature of the modern economy. This may have cost and efficiency advantages when everything’s working smoothly, but it leaves us highly vulnerable to disruptions in overseas sources of manufacture and supply, whether these originate in pandemics like coronavirus, international conflicts, other forms of social or political disruption, rising fuel prices, or other causes.

While the issue is obviously most vital in the fields of pharmaceuticals and medical technology, the reality is that we need to seriously rethink our entire approach to the so-called global economy, starting with a clear-eyed understanding that independence and sovereignty begin with being able to supply our own needs from our own resources and manufacturing capability, here at home.

Anything less leaves us dangerously vulnerable to disruptions abroad.

 

The Perfect Storm: Sources of the depression epidemic | Psychology Today

https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-article_inline_full_caption/public/field_blog_entry_images/2019-05/screen_shot_2019-05-11_at_5.33.49_am.png?itok=uFUvXwVJ
America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-being
Source: Forum on Child and Family Statistics

Source: The Perfect Storm | Psychology Today

This blog article in Psychology Today traces the top five causes of the epidemic of depression here in the U.S. (and in fact, throughout much of the world). These include:

1. The erosion of traditional social structures and communities. “A gradual disintegration of the social fabric, which has closely paralleled industrial and technological growth, has resulted in greater isolation and loneliness… we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors. Urbanization and the breakup of the extended family and rural community are leading causes of this social atomization.”

2. Changes in modes of communication. “Following the physical upheaval of urbanization, the world has been swept by a tidal wave of electronic innovation… [The] alarming rise in depression among U.S. youth during the period 2004–2015… coincides with the birth and rapid growth of smartphone usage during the same period. While this does not prove a cause-effect relationship, it would seem to reinforce an urgent need to closely examine the impact of smartphone usage on the communication skills and psychological well-being of young people.”

3. Changes in Diet. “Consumption of processed foods, which mostly contain a serious imbalance of omega fats, large quantities of sugar, and a lack of fermented ingredients, are radically affecting the delicate balance of our gut flora. A landmark comparison between North Africans and North Americans revealed sharp declines in bacterial diversity among the North American group, including genera containing the psychobiotic strains… Is fast food and processed food throwing our microbiome, that is, our internal environment, into chaos in the same way that pollution is destroying the macrobiome?”

[Note: the Weston A. Price Foundation has been saying this since 1999; Dr. Price himself raised the alarm regarding processed foods vs traditional dietary patterns, back in the 1930s and 40s. This is not new information! But it’s finally beginning to be recognized by the mainstream.]

4. The intense competition surrounding education among industrialized nations. “Korea, Japan, China, and to a growing degree, Western nations, are experiencing an exponential rise in youth depression… fierce competition in the academic arena, in which academic success is equated with social and economic “success” by parents, is leading to a loss of personal autonomy and acute stress. Secondary schools are now largely focused on exam-centered curricula… marked by a lack of content related to life skills, social-emotional learning, and wellbeing in general.”

5. The familiar socio-economic suspects, including war and poverty. “Nations strongly affected by conflict and extreme poverty, with an emphasis on extreme, rank relatively high on the depression scale and low in happiness and satisfaction. Nonetheless, the relationship between GDP and depression/happiness rates is by no means linear… Personal freedom and the presence of social networks, two factors inversely correlated to depression mentioned above, are highly related to scores on the Positive Experience Index of the Global Emotions Report.”

Assuming that the above is accurate, and based on my own experience and informal research, I believe it is, what is most interesting in all this to me – aside from a certain degree of grim satisfaction of the “I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so” variety – is that four out of five of these factors are both endemic to, and so far as can be determined, unique to, our modern/postmodern age. Our ancestors had rough lives in many respects – rougher than ours in most – but they do not appear to have suffering from comparable levels of depression… which has spiked in recent years, as recounted in the linked article, and many others.

These contributing factors to the contemporary depression epidemic can therefore (despite the usual disclaimers about correlation not equalling causation) be pretty much laid at the feet of our abandonment of traditional approaches, thoughts, understandings, philosophies, and ways of living and being, in so many areas of life, from foodways to lifeways, from communication to education.

This mindless neophilia, this willingness (even eagerness) to cast aside the traditional, the tried and true, and to eternally chase after the supposedly “new and improved,” which is so characteristic of our present society, is going to kill us – is killing us – if we do not moderate it with a more sensitive and sympathetic appropriation and re-adoption of traditional norms and ways of life.

Once again, I hate to say I told you so, but……!

Personal note: new water bottle!

IMG_1577

It is neither particularly Anglophilic, nor particularly Anglican, but I have a “real” water bottle again, after years of making do with reused juice bottles (reduce, reuse, recycle…). Visited REI Outdoors in Columbia yesterday, and splurged a bit to purchase this one.

It celebrates both the Appalachian Trailthe longest hiking-only footpath in the world, running some 2200 miles, from Maine to Georgia – and the 50th Anniversary (2018) of the National Trails System Act; a portion of the proceeds (5%) go to support our National Scenic Trails, so I can use that to help justify the purchase!

Pictured with my digital indoor-outdoor thermometer (the “outdoor” portion of which isn’t working again, darn it!) and an assortment of pocketknives.


Side note: I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t notice until just now that REI was sponsoring a hike at Catoctin Mountain Park (just across Route 77 from Cunningham Falls State Park, where I used to work, and a beautiful area of the state) today… until I saw that it had been canceled! So now I don’t need to be disappointed. I do need to get out to that area again, and do some hiking, though!

Ryan Hunter on New York’s distressing new abortion law

My wise and perceptive friend, Ryan Hunter, comments on the State of New York’s rites of Moloch newest abortion law. A magisterial treatment of a very difficult issue, heart-felt and compassionate. Sometimes I think he’s the one who should be the priest, instead of me! Copied and pasted by permission of the author: as of this writing, it is not yet up on his site, and I am grateful for his permission to post it here. He writes:


I have lately refrained from making the slightest political commentary on the government shutdown crisis and Speaker Pelosi and Pres. Trump’s war of words, Brexit and PM May’s various crises, or the latest expansion of abortion access under the recent New York State law. I won’t comment on the first two issues now, but as regards the abortion legislation signed by my state’s “Catholic” Governor Andrew Cuomo, the law is appallingly and deliberately vague in its language. It will have the effect of making it easier for women to seek an abortion after 24 weeks’ gestation for *any* reason that they can frame as even remotely relating to their “health”, whether physical or mental. This vague term, “health”—as broadly defined and applied as possible—has always been the gate through which abortion access has progressively expanded since states began decriminalizing it in the 1960s and then the U.S. Supreme Court did so in 1973.

According to statistics provided by the nation’s leading, licensed abortion providers, well over 50 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. alone since 1973. Think about that number, and the potentiality of each of these lives which never manifested on earth. How many brilliant poets and musicians, much-needed political reformers and wise scholars, curers of cancer or inventors of brilliant new technologies, were never given the chance to live at all?

What does a fetus, a developing human in utero, look like at 24 weeks, 6 months—two-thirds of the way through normal pregnancy? To give you some sense of this reality of a developing human pregnancy, I was born at a little over 5 months’ gestation—3 months and 20 days premature. Every organ was formed, my facial features entirely defined, my toes and fingers able to move, I could make noise, laugh and cry, open my eyes, smile, etc. I was, in other words, born entirely and inescapably human, and would have been just as human had I been born a second or an hour or a day earlier, or a second or an hour or a day later. My humanity was not contingent on a magically defined numerical deadline of X amount of weeks, or whether my parents wanted me, could afford me, etc. My humanity, as with every single person’s, simply *was*, and it simply *is*.

I survived being born so early without any physical or mental handicap whatsoever. This was thanks to the grace of God, the prayers of my parents, grandparents, and so many loved ones, the dedicated care of diligent doctors and nurses, and the best medical technology in the neonatal units of Georgetown University and Northern Virginia’s Fairfax Hospital.

Weighing a pound and a half, and less than a foot long, according to my medical records, I was born 3 months and 20 days premature. I was supposed to be born on 22 October but was born on 2 July. Granted, this was 28 years ago, and my survival then was something of a medical miracle, but please reflect and realize, when we are talking about the 24 week term spelled out by the new law, that abortions are now to be conditionally permitted for the pregnant woman’s health (whatever this can and will be defined to mean) well after the gestation period I had reached at the time I was born.

This legislation is vaguely defined so as to make it immensely easy for women who are not in mortal danger to secure an abortion after their pregnancy is well-advanced, after the fetus is entirely capable of feeling pain, moving about, etc. This is why vague terms used such as “women’s reproductive health” are just that—deliberately vague, nonsensical euphemisms that serve only to obscure the reality of what is taking place in a late-term abortion.

Every woman in the world deserves so much better than to have to face—even for a moment—the desperate thought of considering abortion. Most women who do get abortions do so desperately, with a sense of last resort of despair—may God heal and forgive them, and all who pressured them, or failed to support their pregnancy, or shamed them. Any man who encourages or forces a woman to abort is committing a colossal evil.

The minority of women and men who somehow, in this mad world today, casually endorse abortion after consensual sex do not know what it means to have a fully developed, healthy conscience—something foundational is missing in their basic sense of moral ethics or intelligence, and they do not recognize personhood for what it actually is. It is telling that none of the world’s religious traditions expressed and manifested in the last 4,000 years endorse any notion of casual abortion on demand. Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu sages permit it only narrowly and exceptionally, whereas Christian ones have traditionally forbidden it entirely.

Abortion is a choice that represents a collective failure of society, not just the woman alone, and one that no woman should have to make. But this worth that every woman has, uniquely, must not be made to contrast with the equally valuable worth and right of every human being to experience life in the world itself—which, unavoidably, can only happen once one is born. Women are not gods over their bodies any more than are men; our bodies are a sacred trust to us from God, and we will return them to the Divine one day, with our bodies to answer as much as our souls.

Other than the tragic, exceptionally rare instances in which a woman’s life is actually truly endangered by continuation of pregnancy, there is always a more humane, healing, and healthy alternative to abortion. There is always a chance that the birth of the new life can be a source of good, of healing, of rejoicing, of giving something of light and beauty and truth into the world. Abortion guarantees only one thing: a life will be ended, a child not born. Choosing life allows for any possible potentialities to develop. Purely mathematically, it’s the far more positive choice, open to the possibility of good things happening to both mother and child. Abortion is a literal statistical dead-end.

Generations from now, societies will look back at our self-assured “progressive” views on abortion, and regard them as utterly barbarian, the product of little intellectual reflection and far less ethical formation. All peoples, nations, and states have degrees of good and bad, holiness and evil, in them. But in any free society, a state’s laws are ultimately a fair, relatively accurate indicator of its mores. To whatever extent New York is actually a free political society, this law is unbelievably damning.

What madness now passes for “progress” and what worship of darkness passes for “enlightenment”? God protect us from ourselves… We can, and must, do so much better. Go out, help women facing unplanned pregnancies with any means you have, donate your time and money to pro-life adoption agencies and women’s clinics that help both women and their babies, and end the atrocious stigmas against single mothers. We need to build a more humane, nobler society, one that relegates a culture of abortion to the same area as chattel slavery, legal racial segregation, forced child marriage, and human sacrifice.


Amen, and amen! Thank you again, Ryan, for your permission to share this.

Review: siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt (skyr)

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/all_products_callouts2x.png

siggi’s icelandic-style yogurt uses simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar. it’s thick, creamy, rich in protein and packed with probiotic milk cultures.

Source: siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt: skyr – Home

I don’t often do product reviews, still less promotions, and it takes a lot to impress me. But if you, like me, think that most of the yogurts in today’s marketplace are WAY too sweet (and/or have too many artificial ingredients) – or if you are interested in getting in touch with your Norse heritage through your taste-buds, or both – you might want to consider giving siggi’s a try.

Found in the yogurt section (and called “yogurt” in the same way taekwondo is often called “karate”), it is actually Icelandic-style skyr, a close relative to but not identical with yogurt, or (in the case of the drinkable varieties) fil mjolk, also an Icelandic specialty.

https://siggis.com/wp-content/themes/siggis/images/about/slideshow/our_story_01.jpg?1529434202

In addition to the flavor and lack of excessive sweetness, what gets me excited about siggi’s is the short ingredient list, with all-natural ingredients that our grandparents would recognize as food! Continue reading “Review: siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt (skyr)”

What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

Woman praying.

Anthony Bourdain killed himself today. Fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide earlier in the week. That’s two prominent suicides in the span of just a few days. And they are far from alone, sadly. Suicide is a veritable epidemic across the nation. Suicide rates are on the rise in almost every state. In some areas, they have risen by 30% or more. This is not normal. Something is happening. But what? And why?

Source: WALSH: What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

While this essay deals specifically with what seems to be an epidemic of suicides, including and most noticeably among prominent / “celebrity” individuals, I think the issues Walsh identifies can be applied more broadly, to include, inter alia, what seems to another “epidemic”: that of mass shootings. The crisis is the same, it’s how people react to it that’s different: some lash out at others; some lash out at themselves. Some commit violent crimes, while others commit self-harm… but the roots of the ailment are identical. He writes,

“People will say that suicide is on the rise because we are not doing enough to fight the ‘mental health crisis,’ but this can’t be the cause. We have never been more aware of, or more proactive against, mental health issues, yet the suicide rate only continues to climb. The rate was a fraction of what it is today back when nobody had ever even heard of ‘mental health.’ The purely psychological explanations just don’t hold up. Clearly there is a deeper problem here.

“I think that problem is emptiness. There is an emptiness at the core of our culture, and from this root the suicide epidemic grows. We have fled from God, from meaning, from purpose, and embraced a soft kind of nihilism; a nihilism that will not call itself nihilism. It uses other words and slogans to describe itself. ‘You only live once,’ it says. ‘Live your truth.’ People are told that there is only one life, one reality, and it has no meaning aside from what you assign to it. But what happens when you no longer see meaning? Well, our culture says, if you do not see it then it is not there.

“Those who seek happiness by following the well-worn paths will inevitably fall into this pit. If you do what everyone else is doing, and live how they live, and walk in their footsteps, you will end up in the same darkness. You will begin to feel that there is no hope and no point and no real beauty or joy to be found in life. And this is the state in which so many of us are living…

“And the crisis only worsens because we refuse to trace it all the way down to its roots. We stop at the brain, at chemical reactions and psychological disorders, but we never pause to ask why all of our brains have apparently gone haywire in modern times. If this is all just a matter of mental disorders, why in the hell are these ‘mental disorders’ so common now?”

A good question, but I will let you read the article itself to learn Walsh’s answer to it. It’s fairly short, I’ll wait while you read it. And if you are a regular reader of The Anglophilic Anglican, you will not be surprised that I agree with him, 100 percent!

But I would also suggest that the crisis is not just spiritual, but cultural as well (the two are, of course, not unrelated). When there is little stability, little homogeneity or sense of being a part of something larger (unless it is some victim group), little rootedness in community, culture, ancestral heritage, or tradition, it is hardly surprising that many people will come unmoored, psycho-emotionally… or that for some, that will lead to violence – whether directed against oneself, or against others.

We are reaping the bitter harvest of the seeds we have sown.