Sliding Doors, by Toby Rogers

Better living through psycho-pharmaceuticals? From Toby Rogers at 2ndsmartestguyintheworld.substack.com:

I. The Promise

In the late 1980s/early 1990s my parents spent a small fortune to send me to what was, at the time, the top-ranked small liberal arts college in the country. While the Ivies train up the future ruling class, small private liberal arts colleges offered something far more alluring.

Hanging in the air at these small private colleges was a promise that went something like this: the social sciences, particularly psychology and sociology, have figured things out. If we just follow their wise teachings, we will emerge in a utopian society where there is depth and meaning, people are decent and real with each other, differences are worked out (through “I” statements and “position switching” amongst other tools), and above all people are happy.

I imagine it began with Freud and Jung, accelerated with Foucault and Butler, but it was also present in the pragmatic psychologists including Barry Schwartz and the later happiness researchers.

The promise co-opted the central notion of many 20th century revolutions — that a new man and new woman were being born from the ashes of the old system and that we would find better ways of relating to each other than any society heretofore.

This promise was EVERYWHERE — from the new student orientation to the mandatory date rape prevention workshops to resident advisor trainings to student clubs and late-night conversations in the common areas of the dorms. A better world was possible and we were the ones to usher it in. The promise was going to radiate out to the rest of society like a pebble dropped into a pond.

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