The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ethical issues of anxiety disorders

Many adolescents (and children) require proactive care for anxiety disorders.  In the most optimistic cases, early intervention can stem serious problems later on.  But for many suffering from anxiety disorders, proactive care means that their rights are limited, and they may be coerced into therapy and medications that they don't want.  There is endless ethical "gray area" between the two extremes: a happy alliance with the therapist, and an  apparent removal of basic rights.

In the happier purely voluntary form of therapy the counselor/client relationship is called the therapeutic alliance, "a collaborative nature of the partnership between counselor and client" (Hawaii State Department of Health), counseling ethics are easily applied as boundaries to the relationship to assure that the therapy is beneficial and that no harm comes to the client.

This is described succintly as the "four principles for biomedical ethics" (Westra, 2009): respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice.

The phrase "no harm" (Sheppard, 1999), may be added to stress nonmaleficence.  When clients are harming themselves or may be harmed, this comes to mean "preventing harm," and ethical issues become difficult.

Another more subtle situation that equally relevant situation involves what treatment is used, specifically prescribed drugs, rather than if treatment is used.

An approach to these contradictions is to show that adolescents that need to be controlled, have that need because they are victims.  Adolescents who have been sexually assaulted are at risk for PTSD (Lawyer, 2006), and PTSD as often as not leads to anger (Saigh, 2007).  That may require involuntary treatment if the anger is externalized as violence.  Angry adolsecents usually come from angry families (Avci,  2010), and  "school refusal" is most often positively reinforced by family members or cohorts from the surrounding environment (Kearney, 2004).  Other adolescents who "refuse school" are anxiously reacting to real threats at school (Dube, 2009).  Professionals agonize when young assault victims have to be placed in forensic units, really prisons, when they become threatening or self-injurious as a result of their victimization (Welsh, 1998).

Self-injury may be the most dramatic of issues, along with often related suicide, and it is usually an effort to distract from the pain of depression, or the result of low self-esteem depression (Dickstein, 2009) from negative appraisal by others, or assault (Weismoore, 2010).  Effectively, they have neurotransmitter dysfunctions (Dickstein, 2009).

Perhaps the best information is that adolescent "delinquents" have normal empathy, and that they apparently suffer from executive function disorders (Lardén, 2006).  The stresses that they face force them to limit their cognizance of others' feelings, and there is no self-reported empathy gap between girls and boys. 

Avci, R., & Güçray, S. (2010). An Investigation of violent and nonviolent adolescents' family functioning, problems concerning family members, anger and anger expression. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 10(1), 65-76. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Dickstein, D. (2009). A closer look at non-suicidal self-injury in adolescents. (Cover story). Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter, 25(12), 1-6. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Dube, S., & Orpinas, P. (2009). Understanding excessive school absenteeism as School Refusal Behavior. Children & Schools, 31(2), 87-95. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Hawaii State Department of Health (2010). Therapeutic alliance curriculum activity quiz. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from http://www.amhd.org/About/ClinicalOperations/MISA/Training/Therapeutic%20Alliance%20Curriculum%20activity%20quiz.pdf

Kearney, C. (2007). Forms and functions of school refusal behavior in youth: an empirical analysis of absenteeism severity. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 48(1), 53-61. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01634.x.

Lardén, M., Melin, L., Holst, U., & Långström, N. (2006). Moral judgement, cognitive distortions and empathy in incarcerated delinquent and community control adolescents. Psychology, Crime & Law, 12(5), 453-462. doi:1068-316X print/ISSN 1477-2744.

Lawyer, S., Ruggiero, K., Resnick, H., Kilpatrick, D., & Saunders, B. (2006). Mental health correlates of the victim-perpetrator relationship among-interpersonally victimized adolescents. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(10), 1333-1353. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Saigh, P., Yasik, A., Oberfield, R., & Halamandaris, P. (2007). Self-Reported Anger Among Traumatized Children and Adolescents. Journal of Psychopathology & Behavioral Assessment, 29(1), 29-37. doi:10.1007/s10862-006-9026-9.

Sheppard, G., Schulz, W. and McMahon, S. (1999). The code of ethics. Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association: Ottawa.

Weismoore, J., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2010). The Role of Cognitive Distortion in the Relationship Between Abuse, Assault, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 39(3), 281-290. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9452-6.

Welsh, J. (1998). In whose ‘best interests’? Ethical issues involved in the moral dilemmas surrounding the removal of sexually abused adolescents from a community-based residential treatment unit to a locked, forensic adult psychiatric unit. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 27(1), 45-51. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00502.x.

Westra, A., Willems, D., & Smit, B. (2009). Communicating with Muslim parents: “the four principles” are not as culturally neutral as suggested. European Journal of Pediatrics, 168(11), 1383-1387. doi:10.1007/s00431-009-0970-8.

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