Could it really be that easy to promote mental flexibility? Could we just help people get used to imagining different versions of themselves, like a sci-fi movie where characters intentionally reinvent themselves to succeed in different worlds.
“Political beliefs are like religious beliefs in the respect that both are part of who you are and important for the social circle to which you belong,” said lead author Jonas Kaplan, an assistant research professor of psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “To consider an alternative view, you would have to consider an alternative version of yourself.”
Characters accepting new versions of themselves is part of the attraction of many genres of fiction for me.
Could we just invent alternative worlds, such as an alternative energy future where global cooperation and sustainable lifestyles are the norm, showing resistant characters from now adapting and being happy?
On the other hand, isn't this what current fiction does now to make audiences more violent and nasty, seducing us into identifying with such lead characters? There are so many TV shows which are too disgusting for us to watch because we choose not to be changed into nasty. Case in point, Happy, "which careens between imaginative fantasy and grotesque gore with stomach-turning readiness."
We named the Problem, My Goal is to have a nation focused on healthy and productive citizens.
I offer some Options for remedies:
Provide universal health care;
Provide comprehensive education to all that reveal aptitude and those who qualify to complete a professional degree;
Facilitate permaculture through funding education and internships;
Stop subsidizing fossil fuels;
Stimulate alternative energy;
Provide low-interest loans to install alternative energy for low-income people;
Provide low-income families with school breakfasts, lunches, and after-school nutrition;
Replace plastics with paper products;
Fund recycle programs in rural communities;
Fund recycle education programs in all cities;
Fund childcare and eldercare programs;
Obviously, in this political climate, all or none of the options will pass with this political climate! There will be counter-arguments to each idea. It is up to the adults to formulate talking points in support of some remedy. We can't let the children's health deteriorate to the point when the population will support such efforts. The rich will be highly unlikely to spend money on the poor when they want wealth.
We already know that education funded by local taxation results in a widening difference of quality education
How does one change the view of oneself? I have seen evidence in many different programs, some of them in which I participated.
Morning Star Boys' Ranch: the parents &/or the juvenile courts placed troubled boys at the ranch where were housed, fed them, and used many different methods to teach critical thinking, problem-solving and conflict resolution, anger, and stress management. Parent attended classes on parenting that included the same materials we used to train the boy. As soon as each boy demonstrated he could manage his thinking and behavior, and that each family mastered their skills, a boy could go home, with great fanfare.
Geiger Prison System: some inmates were required by the court to attend my classes. I developed a plan for prisoners that included a modified version of critical thinking, problem-solving and conflict resolution, anger and stress management. Obviously, there were some adult males who had no interest in changing their attitudes and behaviors. These were cleared out of the class fairly early. For those who wanted to change, we had effective outcomes in the prison and a low recidivism rate after their release. It sometimes happened that those who failed the first try at the training had a second chance. These usually turned out well as defined by a three and six-month follow-up. There were problems that arose when the released men returned to their family environment who had no such training. I hoped, unsuccessfully, to develop a family training program to be used while the men were incarcerated.
YWCA Battered Women's Program: Our YWCA in Spokane was very active in the late 1970-80s offering training programs in which I was involved. I modified the programs I developed for Morningstar and Geiger and included information on their rights to feel safe in their homes and families, how to use the courts to help them when home problems and conflicts got out of control. We had a unit on women's lives around the world that I based on my research of the women I interviewed in 32 nations in their homes and workplaces. For example, Swedish mothers had one year paid leave from her paid work and fathers had six months paid leave. In Hungary, mothers had one month and if she didn't go back to work she risked a fine and prison for not contributing to the economy. Fathers had no leave. In China, mothers had a month off and then they placed the infant in daycare at the work site, called a word that translated into "creche." They were allowed time off to nurse the infant until weaned. Weaned children were placed in daycare and school.