Dealing With An "Orgy Of Self-Ingulgence"

Judith Warner presents a dyspeptic view of our culture in the wake of deregulatory disasters like the housing crash and the BP spill:

Under normal circumstances, the emotional, reward-seeking, selfish, “myopic” part of our brain is checked and balanced in its desirous cravings by our powers of cognition our awareness of the consequences, say, of eating too much or spending too much. But after decades of never-before-seen levels of affluence and endless messages promoting instant gratification, Whybrow says, this self-regulatory system has been knocked out of whack. The “orgy of self-indulgence” that spread in our land of no-money-down mortgages, he wrote in his 2005 book, “American Mania: When More Is Not Enough,” has disturbed the “ancient mechanisms that sustain our physical and mental balance.” ...

What remains to be seen, as we move forward into what The Times’s Eric Lipton recently called “a new age of regulation,” is whether this new spirit of control and reform will carry over into the American psyche. For in the anything-goes atmosphere of our recent past, it wasn’t just external controls that went awry; inwardly, people lost constraint and common sense, too. Now there is a case to be made that problems of self-regulation of appetite, emotion, impulse and cupidity may well be the defining social pathology of our time.

(Video via BF)