Science, Sobriety, and Satisfaction

Science: A Social Role

Recently I was pointed to Dr. Brene Brown. Dr. Brown is a social worker and research scientist in the areas of shame and empathy.

The description of her research conclusions interested me from a theoretical and clinical perspective. I hope to touch on the implications of those perspectives in the future. For now, I just want to use one disturbing sentence she said as a jumping off point:

“We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.”

Surprising to you? Maybe not- we see daily news stories on the obesity epidemic, drug abuse, and credit card debt in this country, and many other countries aren’t doing much better.

But, how about this question- Why are we out drinking Mad Men and worse at handling our finances than earlier American cohorts who didn’t have commercial microbrews, pocket calculators, much less Excel, or Quicken?

Any theories?

•Undefended borders letting drugs in from Mexico?

•Insufficient labels on cigarettes & alcohol making them look like healthy choices?

•Better tasting beer too good to pass up?

•No corn syrup tax making sodas an affordable staple?

•Complicated credit card finance charges confusing us?

•Starbucks on every corner drawing us back for daily Fraps?

•Savvy SEM subliminally making us buy stuff?

Maybe – my plan for this blog is to glance at the research and ask those practitioners and scientists who claim to have the answers to see if we can begin to ask and answer some important questions.

Can we find ways to fund the right research, integrate interdisciplinary knowledge, inform policy, disseminate research to clinicians, promote educational curricula, and provide concrete practical strategies to individuals to make future Americans the least addicted, violent, obese, and most satisfied in history?

I really don’t know if we can. But in an age where grandparents are Tweeting and five year-olds are driving traffic to their websites to increase their e-commerce profits, I’m hoping scientists can put a few points on the board in this important game.

Can you imagine the first generation of young adults who are more physically active than their parents, who make informed conscious choices about alcohol and food, and most importantly who are chasing their dreams instead of running from their nightmares?

Can science play a larger role?