Quarks, Quasars and the Mind – Stranger Than We Suppose

Originally published in Psychology Today, 9th May 2017. The following is a modified transcript of a presentation I gave at the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatry Annual Congress held in Adelaide, May 2017. I have included some references via hyperlinks, however the content is generally indebted to inspiration from Richard Dawkins’ TED talk “Why the Universe Seems…

The Self Illusion and Psychotherapy

Originally published in Psychology Today on March 21st, 2017. One of the great privileges of working in psychiatry currently is witnessing the amazing progress of so-called ‘biological psychiatry’. Advances in neurosciences and brain imaging are providing us with closer and closer glimpses of the basis of psychopathology. But for some this reductionism can lead psychiatry…

Changing Minds on Meat Eating

Published in Psychology Today, 25th November 2016. We should avoid the unnecessary suffering of animals—no one but the most disturbed among us would disagree. Unfortunately, pointing out that this moral square peg doesn’t usually fit in the round hole of meat-eating is distasteful to many. The ideological zeal with which many preach their love for…

As The Apocalypse Descends, Enjoy The Moment

Published in The Daily Banter, Nov 11th 2016.  As the apocalypse descends, just enjoy the moment. What a beautiful reminder of the limits of our apish brains; how fragile our civilization, how transient each species on Earth; a testament to the fact that humans climbed out of the trees in Africa barely a second ago…

I Think, Therefore I’ll Die

Published in Psychology Today on 29th September 2016. Are you looking forward to reading an article about death? Probably not. Simply reading it-that-must-not-be-named can arrest us in our place. With torturous futility, we fill our heads with whatever is in mind’s reach to ignore one of the surest of facts: To paraphrase Descartes, “I think, therefore I’ll die”. The certainty that our mortality…

Is Vegetarianism a Religion?

Over the past year, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris has made his abandonment of eating animals public – and it’s been inspiring. As I previously noted in an unfortunately titled Salon article, Sam’s secateurs of reasoning attend to the weeds in his own garden as much as those that lie over the fence. Last year…

Why We Should Stop Avoiding the Word “Patient” in Psychiatry

Published in Psychology Today on 23rd August 2016. “My first memorable experience of psychiatry as a medical student was not what I expected. Rather than my fumbling interactions with psychotic patients, or witnessing electroconvulsive therapy first-hand, I was struck by repeatedly hearing words that had me wondering whether I was interning for a law firm: “consumer” and “client.” To my…

Bigotry Against the Mentally Ill Cannot Solve Bigotry Against Muslims

*Originally published in Psychology Today. Republished in The Daily Banter. – “Orlando may be strongest example yet showing how mental illness is ignored as factor when mass shooter is non-white” – Glen Greenwald after Orlando shootings. – “Every country has homophobia and mental illness. Not every country has guns.” – Gary Younge, Editor-at-large for The Guardian,…

Why It’s Impossible To Not Actually Be A Cannibal

Published in The Daily Banter, 29th April 2016: Why It’s Impossible To Not Actually Be A Cannibal. A dizzying number of publications recently ran a piece titled “Why It’s Impossible To Actually Be A Vegetarian”. Within it, philosopher Andrew Smith argued that because ecosystems tend to involve the transfer of matter from both plant to animal…