Changes coming to docu-mental in 2020

But first, a look back in gratitude

vol. 1 issue 52.5


Yes, it’s an end-of-year missive.

First, thank you. I am humbled by how many readers and listeners I have, even though I have started slow and sometimes have been wide of the mark. Even so, docu-mental has grown steadily, and has found a foothold.

That’s why changes are coming to docu-mental in 2020.

This year, we succeeded in exploring how often we “outsource ourselves”, meaning we let others colonize our body and minds for profit. We looked at how we are often encouraged (often tricked into) giving over our power of agency and how this leads to us feeling anxious, depressed, and otherwise distressed. We connected some dots that hadn’t been connected previously.

Personally, what I found most enlightening was exploring the connection between monopolistic behavior and our loss of privacy, as we did in a number of articles and podcasts. When I started docu-mental, I had not expected to conclude so strongly that as long as Big Data can slice and dice our data in ways they currently do, the notion of America being a free country is a lie.

I came to see that if we don’t actually own ourselves, meaning that we have agency and authority over our personal information, then we are subservient to those who do. Maybe they will harm us, maybe not, but if we’re in the dark about their power to use all that is essential to who we are as individuals, then we are not fully free.

Since I believe freedom is a key component to being in emotional, mental, and spiritual balance, understanding this demeaning of our rights is tantamount for addressing our national epidemics of anxiety and depression.

Some will tell you that is why they are against big government, but that’s just the basis of a partisan trope. Any entity that has that much information about us — whether it be corporate, non-profit, or governmental — poses a threat.

Yet, what we also learned over the first year of docu-mental is that there are so many people who are on top of how unfettered Big Data, as well as bad policies, skewed economics, and the Wild West that is now our media landscape are at cross purposes with our individual rights. We interviewed and reported on several of these people. There was Ron Purser and his book McMindfulness. We had Olivia Webb from the Open Markets Institute where they are working to inform Congress and others about the harm of anti-competitive behavior, and among my favorite podcasts because of the unexpected insights into why we have become such a partisan nation, was this one with a former secretary of the US Senate, Kelly Johnston. There are so many others, all available in the docu-mental archives.

Even though I have a sense there are fresh hells we’ve yet to encounter waiting just beyond the calendar’s turning page (remember this on helicopters?), all these people exercising their rights, curiosity, and influence for the common good gives me hope.

So, what are the changes you can expect from docu-mental in 2020?

I think it’s time to focus on finding sanity rather than just calling out the insanity. It’s time to get to work on creating that herd immmunity to anxiety and depression I have talked about before. As the name “docu-mental” implies, we will be a compendium of ways mental health is defined and achieved. Some definitions, means, and methods are backed by science. Some are not. Some work better than others. Some don’t work at all. We’ll explore why and why not.

There will be less essays, more podcasts, and more resources, and a little lagniappe from time to time.

More on all this to come soon.

In the meantime, Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.