Vicious Cycles

Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

There are many positive cycles within our society, but there as just as many negative ones as well. I’ve hinted at these so called vicious cycles before, but I’ve never discussed them in depth on the site. In this post I want to go over what I feel are some of the most dangerous cycles our culture is up against, and what are some things that can be done to potentially dissolve them. 

The first big one, and the big one I’ve mentioned the most, is institutionalization; particularly educational institutionalization, since it breeds other types of institutionalization such as economic and criminal. Poor schools have poor policy, poor policy means poor opportunity development, poor opportunity development means poor opportunities, which in sum means that the poor stay poor. This, I believe, is fundamentally what drags down the lower class the most, regardless of race or ethnicity. Most kids who go to the Ivy League due so because their parents were wealthy enough to place them into good schools that lead to good opportunities, which leads to admissions officers at Harvard or some such paying more attention. That’s not to say that the Harvard admissions officer isn’t paying attention to kids from the poor districts; it’s just saying that they’re blind to the fact that the kid with a million extracurriculars and his own business probably doesn’t have an entire family they need to feed. 

Now, one way to reduce this cycle is to reduce this blindness. Another way to kill the cycle is to find low cost methods of providing potential resources to poor schools; resources that help provide students with vital growth and entrepreneurial mindsets. Now, if you hit it down to its key components, helping out those in the poor education bloc isn’t as hard.

Another cycle that’s unrelated (but in my opinion, just as big) is the depression cycle. People who are depressed stay depressed because they don’t have the energy or motivation to do the things that won’t make them depressed, such as exercise, meditation, socialization, or otherwise seeking help (important note here: when I refer to this cycle, I am referring to general depression, which all individuals experience, and not major depressive disorder, which is caused by imbalanced neurochemicals and is only truly treatable by SSRIs and other such drugs). 

This sort of goes in line with my now infamous conundrum with mindset changes; how do you get a depressed person to do what they don’t want to do, but is good for them? You can’t force a person to do anything… so what’s the answer? I think the best method here is the minimum viable effort approach; nudge them to do something that is so simple that they’d feel stupid for not at least trying it. This could mean sitting still for 5 minutes every day for a week, or doing five pushups. You could still make the argument that a depressed person could give up more easily, but at least we’re making progress here; it has gone down from a certainty to a probability. 

Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on either of these subjects. There are obviously people who know a lot more about both of these. Still, I think these are both important dilemmas in the wider world, and both important things to discuss going towards the future.

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