After reading Chapter 3 of Johan Hari’s “Lost Connections,” I can conclude that the author states that when making a diagnosis of depression, the circumstances that the patient has experienced must be considered. This part details the experience of a woman, Joanna Cacciatore, who shared the loss of her daughter and decided to dedicate herself to helping people in a similar situation. She observed that when people who have experienced the loss of a loved one are diagnosed with depression, they begin to close off from the world around them and lose confidence in themselves. The author’s second argument is that people need to experience grief. This is the only way to survive the loss of a loved one. People who deny it for a long time and do not allow themselves to grieve are much worse off than those who do the opposite.
Chapter 8 raises important themes, and the author’s main argument is that people should stop chasing material possessions. In the 21st century, the world is set up so that people care more about new gadgets, clothes, and cars than intrinsic values. The problem with many people is that they are dependent on other people’s opinions. They constantly try to be better than someone else, making them unhappier. Unhealthy values cause depression and anxiety because they only create the appearance of happiness and joy, while the real values remain unsatisfied.
The first point that got me thinking is, “To say that if grief lasts beyond an artificial time limit, then it is a pathology, a disease to be treated with drugs, is to deny the core of being human” (Hari, 2018, p. 41). This provision is important because people need to rethink their perception of grief and understand that this emotion helps rather than aggravates the situation. People must feel grief to let go of the loss and continue living with it. Grief is a necessary state of mind for a person to live through. Grief is a very powerful experience, a person is in pain and feels powerless, and it takes a great emotional effort to get back to normal. Grief over the loss of a loved one can be quite prolonged, and it can take longer to recover. It is impossible to undo the fact that a person is feeling. Society should allow people to grieve for as long as possible and not assign diagnoses. Each person reacts differently to certain circumstances in life. Many can easily get through a difficult period, and some may suffer long after the event. The duration of suffering also depends on the degree of shock. People cannot blame someone who has experienced the brutal murder of a loved one for grieving too long.
The second significant point was that “Junk values are distorting our minds” (Hari, 2018, p. 97). I find this point important because it is the basis of the author’s thought in Chapter 8 and forces the reader to rethink their values. Junk values refer to external material goods. People have become so accustomed to valuing the material more than the spirit that they have forgotten how much joy a simple walk in the fresh air can bring. Many prefer to spend more time at work to earn more money instead of paying time with their children. People forget that time is fleeting and loved ones do not last forever. In pursuing money, society can lose the most valuable thing- the ability to feel and enjoy simple things. Many people are convinced that money signifies well-being, happiness, and a great out-of-the-morning condition. One only has to look deeper into the lives of people who have chosen material goods over spiritual ones to see that they are far from happy.
The third important point in the reading is that “advertising plays a key role in why we are, every day, choosing a value system that makes us feel worse” (Hari, 2018, p. 100). I think this example is important because it explains the cause of the human mind’s distortion, and a solution can be found by knowing the reason. Advertising affects a person’s sense of satisfaction with their life. After all, it is not for nothing that every advertising message is based on the idea that without this new product or service, people are not as happy as they could be and do not belong to the circle of the beautiful and successful to which they could belong. Man evaluates the degree of his happiness; he always looks at others first, consciously or unconsciously assessing how everyone else lives. Advertising is an idealized picture created so that companies can make money from their product or service. Thus, it is advertising that develops unhealthy values in today’s society.
The first question I had from reading this was why so many people try to hide their real emotions. People try to appear strong, but this only worsens since everyone has a right to feel sad or grieving. The second question I had when reading parts 3 and 8 of Lost Connections is how people can change their values in today’s world. Society has become so accustomed to our worldview now that there seems no turning back. I sincerely hope people will find a way to bring true values back into the life of modern man.
The most appealing piece of reading I want to discuss in class is that everyone should satisfy their inner values, not chase external ones. A person can only achieve true happiness this way. People need to think about this and stop promoting unhealthy values. Materialism breeds cynicism and other bad human qualities. People begin to value each other only for external attributes, which makes their worldview distorted and wrong.
Hari, J. (2018). Lost connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression and the unexpected solutions. London: Bloomsbury Circus.