The cause of bipolar (and every other mental condition)

Bipolar disorder—once known as manic depression—is a serious mental condition.  The alarming highs and lows associated with the problem are controlled by powerful drugs, but neuroscientists are at a loss as to what is actually going on. Most assume it’s a genetic problem, and some believe it could be caused by a chemical imbalance.  But new research suggests it is neither of those: instead, there’s a very strong link to ‘adverse experiences’ that happened to the sufferer in childhood. Bad experiences such as neglect and abuse before the sufferer reached the age of 19 nearly triple the chances of bipolar
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The three-question challenge

I want to be happy.  I want to be rich.  I want to be acknowledged.  I want to be fulfilled.  I want a better job, a new car, a bigger home. We all have these thoughts, but we probably don’t spend too much time pondering what this ‘I’ actually is. It can’t be our body, because that doesn’t have many of those desires, other than to be healthy, eat, sleep, be warm and suchlike. Perhaps it’s our brain.  But does a brain have ambitions or desires to be rich?  We could argue that a brain wants to be happy and
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How we can be free

I’ve been enjoying Sarah Bakewell’s new book At The Existential Café (Chatto & Windus), which explores the origins and development of existential philosophy. It traces the movement’s beginnings back to Kierkegaard, and how Husserl and his student, Martin Heidegger, developed it further,  but the book’s main focus is on Jean-Paul Sartre and his life-long companion Simone de Beauvoir and their own particular take on the philosophy. At its heart, Sartre’s existentialism proclaims that we are essentially free, but the idea is so terrifying to us that we find comfort in habits and responsibilities. I take a different view.  We are
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