Why is electroshock therapy still a mainstay of psychiatry? | Aeon Essays

Why is electroshock therapy still a mainstay of psychiatry? | Aeon Essays



“Often, the person in the group who articulates the possible is dismissed as a dreamer or as a Pollyanna persisting in a simplistic “glass half-full” kind of optimism. The naysayers pride themselves on their supposed realism. However, it is actually the people who see the glass as “half-empty” who are the ones wedded to a fiction, for “emptiness” and “lack,” like the “wall,” are abstractions of the mind, whereas “half-full” is a measure of the physical reality under discussion. The so-called optimist, then, is the only one attending to real things, the only one describing a substance that is actually in the glass.”


Quid Pro Quo
When entering into a quid pro quo arrangement with someone, you’re promising to do something for them, if they do something in return — it’s a trade-off. In Latin, it literally means something for something, and it was coined in the 16th century as a medical term to swap out one treatment for another.

Bona Fide
This hopeful expression translates to “with good faith” in Latin. It’s used today to describe anyone or anything that is legitimate or has strong credentials. In fact, the word has been reworked into a slangy noun – suggesting someone has “bonafides” means they come with strong recommendations or demonstrable wins under their belt.

Persona Non Grata
Whether the ex-spouse, or a disgraced celebrity, once labeled a persona non grata, they’re simply not welcome. It’s one of more recent Latin terms adopted into English, coming from what’s called new Latin; it was first used around 1877.

Carpe Diem
A longtime favorite for tattoos and painted mottos, this short and sweet phrase is considered analogous to “seize the day.” More broadly, it comes from an ancient Latin poem — “pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the next one.” It’s a nice sentiment, but decidedly less succinct for body art.

Status Quo
The status quo as often used as a replacement for “same old, same old.” In Latin, the original phrase, in statu quo, translates into “the state in which.” It’s an even shorter take on a longer phrase that meant “in the state in which things were before the war.” In other words? Maybe the status quo isn’t always a bad thing.

Et Cetera
The Latin phrase literally translates to “and the rest,” and the abbreviation “etc.” is still used to imply there are more similar items included in the list. It was first used in the Middle Ages and has remained one of the most persistent uses of Latin in modern English.

Ad Hoc
When doing things off the cuff, on a whim, or without a formal plan in place, that’s ad hoc. In Latin, it literally means “to this” or “with respect to this.” While unplanned, using ad hoc properly will give some indication toward the topic or purpose. “We’re having this ad hoc meeting on safety procedures before we have another accident.”

De Facto
In Latin, this phrase translates to “of fact.” It’s used a little differently in modern parlance – for suggesting the default, assumed, or clear meanings or intentions, if not explicitly stated. To use it in a sentence, you may say, “Beyonce was the de facto leader of Destiny’s Child.”

Vice Versa
This early 17th-century Latin expression means “in-turned position.” Modern English speakers use it to indicate things two things that are completely interchangeable, such as, “I can housesit for you this weekend, vice versa the next weekend.”

Main image photo credit: Luca Tosoni/ Unsplash

Seth Godin’s Newsletter

* The sixth layer [ https://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/645879036/0/sethsblog/posts~The-sixth-layer/ ]

Humans differentiated themselves 100,000 years ago by developing the ability to have a detailed memory. Not just “where did I hide the acorns” but rich and diverse memories about people and places.

Only a few thousand years ago, we amplified this by making those memories permanent. Telling a story to someone else dramatically increases our memory capacity.

Then we started making and saving our notes.

And then we developed a common language so we could share those notes with others. The library and the cloud meant that your memory could become my memory too.

And only recently we added search, so the memories and insights of a billion or more people could be easily accessed.

The sixth layer, now appearing, is an intelligence that prompts us and tells us what is out there before we even decide to search for it.

No wonder we’re a bit dizzy. We just multiplied our minds by many orders of magnitude. It’s easy to confuse someone else’s memory (or manipulation) with our hard-earned ability to remember things that actually happened to us.

And we’re now realizing that we have the power (and perhaps the obligation) to use shared knowledge to make better, more thoughtful decisions. And to intentionally edit out the manipulations and falsehoods that are designed to spread, not to improve our lives.


Part of speech: verb
Origin: Yiddish, 1960s
1Feel happy and proud.
Examples of Kvell in a sentence “The best part of award shows is seeing recipients’ families kvelling over their success.” “Even as conversations quieted, the winning team continued to kvell over their success.”


LabileLAY-bihlPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Late Middle English, unknown
1(technical) Liable to change; easily altered2Of or characterized by emotions that are easily aroused or freely expressed, and that tend to alter quickly and spontaneously; emotionally unstable.
Examples of Labile in a sentence “My roommates are very labile when it comes to plans.” “As a doctor, Louie was very familiar with patients becoming emotionally labile when they weren’t feeling well.”

Did you know..

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of Michelangelo (1475), Rob Reiner (1945), and  Shaquille O’Neal (1972)? If you were born today, then you are in the company of some great talent! Now get out there and paint, direct, or shoot a basketball! 😉


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.”

— Rachel Marie Martin