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    object(stdClass)#13340 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5543"
      ["title"]=>
      string(44) "Information Knowledge: Understanding Reality"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(43) "information-knowledge-understanding-reality"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(258) "

    Having an internal representation that reflects reality is what we have – at least we think we have – and the whole purpose of learning is to bring our internal reality closer in line with the objective reality that exists in the world at large.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(8908) "

    This is a more difficult process than we realize. Since our internal reality is made up of our semantically organized store of long-term memories that contains images (moving and still), words, feelings and any other sensation that can be attached to anything that is already there, h=understanding memory is important for learning. Bringing our internal into closer alignment with reality.

    Information is nothing more than information. Information does not lie within people’s brains. Once information is in your head, it becomes knowledge. We begin laying down permanent memory traces as soon as our senses become functional and spend the rest of our lives adding to and restructuring the semantic structure of what is already there. Once the information that we move from our working memory into our long-term memories through making links with the knowledge that is already there, that information becomes a part of our knowledge store.

    It is important to remember that we build our own personalized long-term memory structure. We add what we experience (learn) to the structure that is already present. We add memory traces to what is already there. And, in the process, produce more memories to which incoming information can be attached. As we learn more, we have more available knowledge to which we can attach new information to. As a result, we are constantly adding to our knowledge base. Every word, image, smell, taste, feeling – everything that we move from working memory to long-term memory becomes attached, overlaid, to some other part of our knowledge base. This leads to understanding.

    Understanding develops as we add to, organize, and integrate the new information that we acquire with the knowledge we have already stored in long-term memory. The more knowledge we acquire within a semantically organized family of knowledge, the greater our understanding of that family of knowledge becomes. As we expand our understanding of a subject, we align our internal reality with the objective reality of the real world – possibly. The process of embedding knowledge into an enriched understanding takes time and energy and the usual process that we engage in is to take the most important aspects of the new information (according to our judgment) and overlay something that is already there.

    Aligning our internal reality with objective reality is where the entire process breaks down. The base of our knowledge is what we attach our new knowledge and so, in normal circumstances, we simply overlay our new information onto our existing knowledge base and expand our understanding of something based on what we already know and how this new information fits based on our own, internal semantic arrangement of our pre-existing knowledge. You can see where this is going. If our already stored knowledge does not really align with reality, our new information will follow that alignment. If the fundamental foundation of our understanding of something is wrong, all of our learning will simply deepen our erroneous understanding of the subject.

    So, what hope do we have? How can our learning, and hence, our understanding, align with any kind of objective reality? It is impossible to have our internally constructed reality match exactly with objective reality. However, it is possible to bring that alignment closer as we mature.

    So, how do we fix this problem inherent in our basic cognitive structural architecture? We can do it, but it is extremely difficult. Overlaying new knowledge onto an existing knowledge base and making permanent memory traces that ties it all together is a difficult process. What we have to do is restructure the entire foundation of our understanding of some subject. Once we restructure the foundation of our understanding, we then have to reincorporate all of our knowledge and understanding about that subject to comfortably over the new foundation. This fundamental restructuring is an order of magnitude more difficult than the difficult process of simply overlaying what we learn and tie it to what we already know.

    The subjective experience of this restructuring can range from a new coat of paint – the easiest, most common, and least effective – to a complete tearing down of our understanding and rebuilding it from the deepest base to the new form of understanding, incorporating and adjusting our newly formed semantic organization to take in what we now know. Rarely done outside of formal learning structures. After all, we go to school in order to gain knowledge and understanding that reflect reality as closely as possible.

    In formal education, we rely on gaining new understanding from authority figures (teachers, professors, etc.). In the process, those charged with teaching us have the responsibility of equipping us with the cognitive tools (cognitive enablers) necessary to expand our sensory input, influence our internal hierarchical structure, check our new-found knowledge and understand, and enrich our understanding by providing us with tools to manipulate and internally develop our own understanding. The foundations are laid in the early years of formal education by equipping us with a set of concrete cognitive enablers: reading, writing, basic numeracy, and basic problem-solving.

    These concrete cognitive enablers allow us to bring what we learn about the concrete world and incorporate this knowledge into a sensible hierarchy. At this stage of our learning and development, all that we learn is concrete. A bacteria or virus is as concrete as a table and chairs – because your teacher told you it is.

    Although the concrete cognitive enablers are abstract in and of themselves, they are not there to understand and manipulate abstract concepts. Concepts that only exist within our thinking. Simple abstract concepts can be taught, and the early learning about their very existence is an eye-opening experience for developing brains. I find it wonderfully fulfilling when I can lead a learner to the point where they discover, not only the existence of abstract entities but begin to develop the ability to manipulate them in their own right. This ability resides in the pre-frontal cortex, the final part of the brain to be fully incorporated into our brains. Although there is access to the pre-frontal cortex fairly early in a child’s development, the integration to really grasp and manipulate abstract concepts happens when the brain’s wiring (myelination) reaches a stage when the pre-frontal cortex can be fully integrated and seamlessly interact with the rest of the brain.

    At this stage, in order to understand and manipulate abstract concepts, a new set of cognitive enablers must be taught and developed. Just like the concrete cognitive enablers must be taught, nurtured, and developed, abstract cognitive enablers must also be taught, nurtured, and developed. I have written extensively about the evidence that is available to let us know that this is not really done in our society. It is true that a few individuals manage to learn them and can use them all the time, but the number who can wield a full suite of abstract cognitive enablers is vanishingly small and getting smaller as our current education system develops.

    Why is this important in a discussion about information -> knowledge -> understanding -> And reality? Because fundamentally restructuring a field of knowledge or subject area involves the fundamental restructuring of a part of long-term memory. This is about an abstract concept as they come. Not only thinking about our thinking (abstract) but exploring internal hierarchies and connections (abstract). In addition, the fundamental memories (understanding) upon which a hierarchy is built needs to be examined closely (abstract) and completely restructured based on new knowledge that can’t be refuted (abstract). This is a lot of understanding and manipulating abstract concepts. This takes a lot of time, energy, and well developed abstract cognitive enablers.

    It is much easier to ignore and throw away or try to refute the new evidence of reality than it is to completely restructure our memories and our thinking patterns. And, this is what we normally do.

    Self-correction based on evidence is one of the most important, and most difficult thinking skill that we can develop, and it is rare to find in a general sense (context-dependent learning is a whole other concept).

    As a result, we have a confirmation bias which leads us to look for and incorporate new information into our already established knowledge structure. It’s easier that way and we can say “I don’t believe a lot of “research” that is out there. It keeps us comfortable and doesn’t take the energy that a wholesale restructuring would take.

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    Information Knowledge: Understanding Reality

    Jesse Martin
  • 2
    object(stdClass)#13339 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5531"
      ["title"]=>
      string(85) "BT Sport Films “Greavsie” Hails the Greatest Finisher in English Football History"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(79) "bt-sport-films-greavsie-hails-the-greatest-finisher-in-english-football-history"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(406) "

    As a journalist, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing any number of fascinating athletes, players who are idols to millions, including: NBA MVPs like Kobe, Shaq and Kevin Garnett, NFL stars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and NHL legends like Wayne Gretzky; along with superstars turned pundits such as Troy Aikman, and Terry Bradshaw, and tennis’ John McEnroe, among dozens of others.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(7600) "

    They were all great—attentive, thoughtful, and funny. Like, after agreeing to sign a headshot for my mother, McEnroe “played” up to his former bad boy image and quipped, “Should I spit on it, first?” He didn’t. Funny guy!

    But, the athlete who I personally idolized as a kid growing up in Wales, turns 80 on February 20, the same day that an awesome new biography produced by BT Sport Films called “Greavsie” is released.

    Rounding


    London-born Jimmy Greaves is arguably the greatest finisher in English football history, scoring 357 goals—with nobody coming close to his record (not Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney or Gary Lineker) for goals at the top level of English football. And, this documentary tells the “tale of the rise, fall and re-birth of one of England’s greatest strikers” with rarely seen archive footage and interviews with some of the game’s biggest names. On-camera, many, like Sir Geoff Hurst who scored a hattrick to inspire England to win the World Cup in 1966, simply call him “a genius in the art of scoring goals.” And, a former teammate, Alan Mullery adds, “He was the best of his time, just like Lionel Messi in the modern day.”

    High praise, indeed.

    I met Greasvie, who had a mischievous twinkle in his eye that my mum adored, as a nipper when his England national team came to play Wales, and I got his autograph outside Cardiff’s Ninian Park. A couple of years later in Toronto, when his Spurs club team were playing Rangers in a friendly, Greavsie obliged with a hattrick, and then a photo with me and another autograph. Boy, was I pround!

     

    Stats

     

    Greavsie, who would score goals with his head or either foot, on icy or sloppy fields, was just born to score goals, and he did so for every club he represented, including nine in a short stint for Milan in Italy’s Serie A.

    Football was very different back then with players not making the millions they make monthly, so they were closer to the everyday fans. The documentary reports that Greavsie loved football for the game it was and valued the link to supporters. Spurs manager Bill Nicholson encouraged his players to spend time with fans and they would drink after games at local pubs on Tottenham High Road. Graeme Rudge, one of my ex-pat pals and co-founder of LA Spurs, along with Rolfe Jones, says stories still circulate at the Bell and Hare about Greavsie’s presence.

    After retiring from football too early and then going through his own personal hell including a bout of alcoholism, Greavsie returned and “reinvented himself and forged a career on TV, first as a strident pundit and then, in tandem with Liverpool and Scotland striker Ian St John, capturing the hearts of a new generation of football lovers with the Saint and Greavsie show.”

    SaintGreavsie


    Former England striker and now Match of the Day and BT Sport anchor Gary Lineker says: “Jimmy was perhaps the first football star of TV...Football can be a bit overly serious at times, but we’ve got to remember...it’s entertainment and it’s there to be enjoyed and I think Jimmy encapsulated that perfectly. That’s something I’ve tried to take into my television career. It’s important to have light and shade and Jimmy did it perfectly.”

    Veteran journalist and author Norman Giller collaborated on 20 books with Greavsie with the author recalling: “The most important collaboration was the first in 1978 when he started to beat the bottle. It was called ‘This One’s On Me,’ in which he was brutally honest in describing how he had hit rock bottom.”

    Giller recently interviewed a few Spurs legends at the premier of this awesome BT film. He quotes Spurs Welsh wizard Cliff Jones as saying of Greaves: “Simply the greatest British goal scorer there has ever been,’ he said without hesitation. ‘As good as Messi, and could Lionel have done it on the mud heap pitches on which we played and with defenders like Chopper Harris and Bites-Yer-Legs Hunter allowed to kick you from behind?”

    Giller also quotes Glenn ‘the god” Hoddle, one of Tottenham’s legendary playmakers, who told him: “As a mate of Jimmy’s for more than 50 years, I am also proud to play a part in the BT tribute to mark the great man’s upcoming 80th birthday on February 20. It is an emotional rollercoaster and includes many of his greatest goals and footage that will make you laugh, cry, cheer and groan. It’s a masterpiece by producer/director Tom Boswell and his BT crew.”

    Premiere

    Super agent Terry Baker, who has known Greavsie for yonks through his booking agency, A1 Sporting Speakers, says of the BT movie: “Basically, I gave the go ahead to allow BT Sport the right to make this film, because Jimmy deserves to be remembered and because Tom Boswell has done a great job making it. ‘Greavsie’ is a great watch about a great man—my lifetime hero and my great, great friend. See the only live showing of the film with us in Stevenage on Jimmy’s 80th birthday February 20.”

    One more thing that would make our hero’s day—Baker, Giller and Greavsie’s family have been pushing for him to earn a knighthood for his services to football. In fact, the Daily Mail/Sportsmail has launched a campaign for his achievements to be honoured. And, Sir Geoff Hurst concurs, saying, “He deserves recognition at this time in his life. As much for his family and friends and fans as for himself. I fully support the Mail campaign.”

    Fingers crossed that the football gods look down favourably on the campaign. And, why not? As Greavsie and Giller have often said, and millions agree, “it is a funny old game”—extraordinarily so.

    Check out A1 Sporting Speakers for more information on the live showing of the BT movie; listen to Norman Giller’s personal tribute in song to his longtime pal Greavsie; and, here’s more information on BT Sport Film’s “Greavsie.”

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    BT Sport Films “Greavsie” Hails the Greatest Finisher in English Football History

    Ashley Jude Collie
  • 3
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      ["title"]=>
      string(45) "Focus On What Matters—Prioritize Ruthlessly"
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    We all have our own stories of success and failure. These stories represent great opportunities to learn something new.

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    So, here at ProofHub, I seek stories that I can use to teach my team the DOs and DON’Ts of the modern business world. Recently, I came across a story that made me realize just how important prioritizing is. 

    Did you know that Steve jobs almost saved Apple from dying out in 1997? Well, here’s what happened: 

    In 1997, the company was producing a random array of computers and peripherals—that included multiple versions of the same product. In the same period of time, the company lost $1.04 billion and its sales were dropped by 30%. 

    At a product review meeting, Steve Jobs addressed the elephant in the room and decided to reduce the number of products by 70%. He strictly suggested producing four great products (one for each quadrant) and cancel all other products. He made it quite clear to his team that they should focus on prioritizing what is important and avoid being sucked into the procrastination trap. 

    To put it simply, we’re living in a world where there is too much uncertainty and a lot of distractions to drain our brain. The only way one can stay sane and productive in these circumstances is by prioritizing ruthlessly. Here are a few tips that will help you do the same. 

    Plan to Eat the Frog First

    Always plan to finish your least enjoyable tasks first. Get them out of the way instead of feeling their weight on our shoulders through the day. Use a prioritization chart or workflow boards to organize tasks/priorities and check them off as you complete them.

    Keep your priorities and deadlines in check with ProofHub. Sign up now for your FREE trial!

    Realistically Schedule Time

    Block off time in your calendar to complete tasks and track that time using a time tracking tool. Protect your time otherwise you'll never be able to get them completed in time. 

    Block All Distractions

    Know your worst distractions and make sure that they don’t get in the way of your productivity and performance. Disabled social media notifications, shut down email, activate Do Not Disturb on my your phone while you are working on a deadline.

    Delegate As Much As Possible

    Finally, if you don't have time for it or are not good at it, assign it to someone else. Always make sure that your time is best served on important and urgent tasks that can only be done by you.

    In this world of continuous distraction, how do you keep yourself and your team productive? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments section! 

    Author Bio 

    Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub — leading project management software. From contributing to websites such as The Huffington Post, Business.com, Elearning, Dzone, and The Next Web to becoming LinkedIn Top Voices in 2017 and 2018, she has recognised amazing new ways to reach the audience. She weaves stories about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, and common workplace events. She also loves to read and travel to new places.

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    Focus On What Matters—Prioritize Ruthlessly

    Vartika Kashyap
  • 4
    object(stdClass)#13347 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5495"
      ["title"]=>
      string(37) "Science of Learning - Memory Transfer"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(35) "science-of-learning-memory-transfer"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(228) "

    Short-term memory is exactly what the name implies, memory for the short term. It is the memory you are using to feed your thinking.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(8522) "

    The number of items you can hold in short-term memory is between about four and eight (5±2 or 7±2 depending on the research). You keep items active in short-term memory by rehearsing them in your head. You know what this feels like when you get a phone number. As long as you can keep repeating it in your mind, you don’t forget. As soon as another item comes along, you begin to lose part of the number. You can chunk information together and make it one item, so (keeping with the phone number analogy) a familiar area code can be treated as a chunk, even though it is three (or more) numbers long.

    In learning, short-term memory must be quickly transferred to working, or episodic memory or it is lost. Working or episodic memory defines what you have in your mind at any given moment. In order to transfer your working memory to long-term memory, you must look for and establish meaningful links to what you already have in your long-term memory. By establishing meaningful, semantic links and associations with the information you already have in long-term memory, you can move your new information from working or episodic memory to a more permanent store – long-term memory. This process of establishing durable links takes effort and energy. Since the brain is a conservative organ (doesn't like to waste energy needlessly), this process is avoided and takes a concerted effort - as anyone who has tried to memorize something - long-term - can attest.

    Long-term memory is a durable, permanent store that is organized semantically (or by meaning). There are three aspects to long-term memory: encoding (getting it in there), storage (keeping it there), and retrieval (getting it back out). Formal learning is primarily concerned with encoding and retrieval. However, a lack of understanding of how long-term memories are organized and stored means that there are powerful learning opportunities lost.

    Because long-term memory is organized as a semantic network, the information that is transferred to long-term memory is organized according to how related the information is. A caveat is necessary here. The relatedness of information is completely subjective in that individuals decide what and how new information is related to the knowledge that is already in long-term memory. It would be nice to think that my long-term memory organization is truly representative of reality (actually, it is), however, my reality isn’t exactly the same as your reality (so yours is wrong).

    The information that is moved to long-term memory is encoded through links to knowledge (information that has been encoded into long-term memory) that we already know, hence the semantic organization. This is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because information is attached to knowledge, the more knowledge you have encoded already, the more links you have to encode other information. For this reason, the storage capacity of long-term memory is essentially unlimited. The more you know, the more you can learn.

    The other reason for knowing that semantic organization is the way long-term memory works is that as information is added to our long-term store, the information that is there is changed. Our understanding of what we already knew is altered, and (usually) our understanding is deepened - hopefully. Even if it is not altered in a way that actually represents reality any better, it is altered to provide more information that is attached to the knowledge that is already there.

    In education, I keep hearing that overassessment is a bad thing. Overassessment is measuring something that has been learned, more than once. Educators believe that this is not good. Once you have measured how well a student has learned something, to measure the same thing again is poor practice. You already know what your student has learned, so you shouldn’t assess it again. However, given what we know about how memory is organized, and since we know that when new information is added, it changes the stored knowledge as well, why wouldn’t we want to ask about a learner's understanding again (overassess)? Asking the same question more than once (if it is a good question) will allow a learner to demonstrate how their understanding of something has developed as they have engaged in their learning opportunities. Labeling overassessment as poor practice is a lost opportunity, due to a lack of understanding of how memory works.

    Another problem with formal education and the lack of understanding of how long-term memory works has to do with the retrieval of information.

    I remember how fascinated I was when I learned about something called state-dependent learning. I first heard of it as a second-year undergraduate in a Cognitive Psychology class. State-dependent learning is the principle that you will remember much better if your state of recall is closely matched to your state of encoding. A great illustrative example of how this works was a study where memory was tested in scuba gear at the bottom of a pool and in a classroom setting. When the divers learned something at the bottom of the university swimming pool, they could recall it much easier if they were tested on that information at the bottom of the pool than if they were tested on the learned information in a classroom setting at desks. However, they remembered the information that they memorized sitting in desks much better in the classroom than they did at the bottom of the pool.

    If you try to recall information in a state (situation, place, mood, etc.) that is as close to the state you were in when you learned the information, your recall will be much better. The take home message (at least for me as a student at the time) is that you need to study for your exams in a state that is as close as possible to the state that you will experience taking the exams. Doing this will maximize your performance and give you the highest grade.

    If you actually want to learn something that you might need to access in a different situation sometime in the future, this is the worst possible strategy. You are keeping the knowledge you are learning linked to a single state (in order to maximize exam performance) and are not making links to other times, places and situations where the knowledge might prove useful – the problem of transference of knowledge. When I talk about information in this context, I am also talking about skills, content and any other form of learning. The most critical skills that are often locked away within a specific context are cognitive enablers – knowing how to think.

    Since learning in formal education should be about preparing a person for what they need to know in the future, learning should be about accumulating knowledge and skills that will aid in critical analysis, problem-solving, and decision making (all of which need a solid content base from which to work). It is doubtful that many critical decisions or rational problems are going to be solved in rooms that resemble exam halls.

    State-dependent learning might improve recall from long-term memory in a specific situation, but it does nothing to build an appropriate content or skill base that a learner can draw on in the future to successfully engage in what the world needs the most of – thinking.

    A far better strategy (for learning) is to engage in recall in as many different states as possible. Knowing how to solve problems involving fractions on paper while sitting at a school desk is not a useful skill to have. Being able to apply knowledge about fractions in a kitchen, a building site, an architectural table, an accounting desk or any other situation that could use the skill is what is really useful. Unfortunately, this isn’t often done in education, and overassessment being bad (as a principle) means that it is unlikely to be changed in the near future. Learning content and skills in a setting that results in the highest score on a standardized test is the most useful kind of learning available in today's world.
     

    On another note, I’ve developed an app to help students (and others) begin to think about their thinking. A rather abstract thing to do, but it is a beginning to acquiring abstract cognitive enablers – cognaware.com

     
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It is the memory you are using to feed your thinking." 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    Science of Learning - Memory Transfer

    Jesse Martin
  • 5
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      ["title"]=>
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    As readers likely know, I write, speak and advise on trauma -- particularly as it affects students along the educational pipeline.
    " ["fulltext"]=> string(8923) "
    Trauma takes many forms -- family dysfunction, natural disasters, shootings (including in places once deemed safe), overdoses, addictions and suicides. And trauma symptomology is complicated and tri-phasic. And unfortunately, many of those who deal with students are not trauma-trained.
    No alt text provided for this image

    Indeed, we don't have courses in many Schools of Education on trauma in an effort to prepare new teachers. And, we oft-times forget that teachers and staff and administrators dealing with the trauma their students experience can develop secondary and vicarious trauma. We would be wise to create trauma-responsive institutions; that would help everyone. And, I just did a webinar for the YesWeMustCoalition on this very topic; it will be available on their website at www.yeswemustcoalition.org. And, for the record, there are lots of locations and personnel who can benefit from being trauma-trained: doctors, lawyers, medical clinics, workplaces, community centers. All of this is dealt with in my forthcoming book from Teachers College Press, Trauma Doesn't Stop at the School Door.

    Now, on to SVU.....

    Someone suggested that I reflect on television shows that focus on or deal with trauma -- medical shows, police shows, reality shows, regular newscast and evaluate how these "dramas" handle this sensitive and complex topic. It was the most recent episode of Law and Order SVU, Season 21, Episode 12, that pushed me to respond and look more closely at its treatment of trauma.

    Episode 12 has gotten lots of attention, both positive and negative. The episode deals with a rash of suicides, albeit for different reasons. A former police officer commits suicide because she was raped and no one paid any attention when she made the allegations; indeed, her rape was covered up by male officers or at least not investigated fully. Then, an officer questioned about the rape commits suicide, although he was not the rapist. Just recalling the event seemed to put him over the edge, although his wife noted in the episode that he had been struggle for several years with the difficulty of the job of being a police officer. Finally, as if all that were not enough, Captain Benson's former lover commits suicide -- he had brain cancer and after disclosing the name of the rapist (his police partner) and clearing his own name and insuring that justice would be done, he kills himself. Three suicides; dramatically different reasons.

    More on that last observation in a minute.

    Some have written that the episode is designed to showcase the risk of suicide that victims and police officers face. Others thought it is reflective of loose and easy writing -- just kills people off and that makes for a story.

    I have been watching Law and Order SVU for years and years. Reruns too. I have watched how Benson deals with victims and how she navigates her effort to get information and a prosecution with sensitivity toward the rape survivor. Indeed, on occasion, she discloses that she too was raped. She deals with adult survivors and children; her survivors are male and female; old and young; rich and poor. And, she appears genuine in her ability to understand the pain and trauma rape causes. There is something compelling about her effort to balance the need for justice and the concerns a rape survivor experiences, including disbelief by others, diminution of sense of self, embarassment and shame, loss of identity, silencing. I think she helps real victims -- in the real world. Her fictional character messages.

    FYI: At the end of the most recent episode, there was a link to suicide prevention help if viewers needed it.

    Here's what is troubling me about Episode 12. Too much is going on for viewers to process well. There is too much messaging as to how we respond to trauma. Three suicides is one or two too many. The suicide of a rape survivor is worthy of its own episode. How we deal with rape, especially when it is concealed, is a worthy topic. The litigation against Harvey Weinstein is evidence of the pain his "victims" experienced. And, the need for support between and among victims is clear: there is comfort in numbers in a way. One was not the only person raped, even if one feels that way.

    The struggles of those in caregiving capacities and policing are abundant: when we regularly witness trauma and don't exercise self-care, we are at risk as providers of care. Our capacity to do our jobs is impaired and our lives in our homes are challenged. This is a topic that deserves attention too. And, the television show, while being forthright about the benefits of therapy does showcase its risks in terms of disclosure and sense of possible job loss (with therapy being seen as a weakness). Similar issues arise in the context of the military where trauma is not infrequent but the risks of seeking help are abundant. Some fear therapy but the worse fear is that others will know we need help. Seeking help regrettably is seen as a sign of weakness not strength. That's true more generally; we have a American proclivity to favor "we can do this alone" mentality. Autonomy reigns supreme.

    The final suicide is based on illness and the desire not to drag one's family through the consequences of devastating illness, including the change in personality that may accompany the illness. Thisis a topic that is all too common. Those with debilitating illnesses ponder -- unless loss of mental function has already occurred -- whether they want to be a burden and how they want to be remembered. Those with Alzheimers Disease may not want to experience the illness and its consequences but by the time that is a reality, they are too ill to make the needed decisions. Just read Still Alice.

    Here's my observation: too many important issues in Episode 12 got conflated. Suicides are not all the same. The reasons for suicide, the ways suicide is committed, the context and culture in which they occur: these are all different. And, as such, we need a vastly more nuanced approach to understanding, displaying and responding to suicide. Trauma accompanies suicide. No doubt about that. But, putting different situations all together assumes our reactions, our approaches, our feelings are the same with respect to all suicides.

    Death of someone about whom we cared carries trauma. Ponder the deep feelings about the death of Kobe and his daughter Gigi. Suicide is death of course and how we response needs to be handled with more nuance, more understanding and more solutions -- for those who may commit suicide and those who survive the suicide of others. Law and Order SVU missed an opportunity; I appreciate the power the show could have. I just wished they hadn't shortcutted the depth of different types of suicides and approaches to ameliorate them. Both parts of this prior sentence were shortchanged.

    It's not too late. The show has time to deal better with these issues moving forward. It seems the show isn't ending immediately. Let's hope they can handle the complexity of issues of trauma more effectively moving forward. Lots of people would benefit from that. Lots. We can't afford to lose these opportunities. Sadly, we need to learn to deal with trauma and its aftermath. It is too present to ignore. 

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    Law and Order SVU, Suicide and Trauma

    Karen Gross

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