Big Think Interview With Elizabeth Debold
Elizabeth Debold, Ed.D, senior editor of EnlightenNext magazine and a senior teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment, brings together her experience as a pioneering researcher with a profound understanding of consciousness and cultural development. She is an author, internationally renowned gender researcher, and cultural commentator. Her bestselling book, Mother Daughter Revolution: From Good Girls to Great Women, was heralded by Gloria Steinem and Carol Gilligan as “the book women have been waiting for.” Elizabeth received her doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University, where she was a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development. Elizabeth has been sought as an expert on girls, women, and the evolution of gender roles by major media outlets in the US and abroad and has lectured in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has made multiple appearances on Oprah, Good Morning America, and NPR, and was featured in a major Lifetime documentary on girls’ development. She has also consulted to numerous films and television programs, as well as to foundations, nonprofit educational organizations, corporate law firms, and businesses. Elizabeth has taught at Harvard University, the New School for Social Research, and the Graduate Institute, where she was the academic director of the Master of Arts program in Conscious Evolution. Her work has appeared in academic publications, popular media, and international anthologies as well as in EnlightenNext magazine. Since 1996, Elizabeth has studied with spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext, where she teaches and develops programming on the evolution of gender and the next women’s liberation. She is under contract for a new book, tentatively titled The Evolution of Love: Men, Women, and the Possibility of Transformation.
Question: Are women more or less sad than they were four decades ago?
Elizabeth Debold: This new study that's been done, that has shown that women are less happy than they have been since the '70's, that at the start of the women's movement, women appeared to be happier than they're reporting now. Now, there are a lot of different ways to think about what that means and what that's about. It could be that women were too locked into being good women, than to say that they were unhappy, I mean, that could be part of it. Could be just great honesty on women's part.
But I think that if you look at what's happened over the last, almost 40 years, women's role, which is a role that women have been, has given women dignity, that women have been known for, have been identified with, which is being caretakers, being the ones who kind of hold the hearth together, that hold the heart of culture, has become optional. It's not something that you have to do anymore. We hope that women's roles will be valued more, but those traditional roles are still not seen as the most valuable part of culture. And so it's the thing by which we've known ourselves, by which we've understood how to be in the world, has been made not so necessary. Yet the world of work is still very much structured as if it's for men who have wives at home, who are taking care of the kids.
So we're in a very funny place. We're at a point of real transition in the culture. And I think that a large part of women's unhappiness has to do with not feeling where they're supposed to be. And I think the thing is that there isn't a supposed to be anymore a place that is going to be safe for women- that we can find and where we can be secure. If you think about what makes a lot of women around the world happy or would make them happy, would be safety, security. In many ways, that world is gone. Particularly for post modern in the west.
So what new do we have that would be as fulfilling and, you know, be able to tap something very deep in us that allows us to make a contribution? That question really hasn't been answered yet. And I think because of that, that at a deep level, women, because what this study pointed to, is that it's actually women all over the globe are reporting less happiness. And I think that's because women around the world can look and see options when they don't have any, and that is a source of unhappiness and those of us who do have options say, "But I don't know what to do." "I don't know what I can do that will really make my life meaningful and give me a deeper purpose for being here," because all the traditional ones don't really hold our hearts and our passions and our creativity any longer.
Question: What is the next step for women?
Elizabeth Debold: Will women end up taking on sort of the male role that work is our identity? A lot of women have done that. And a lot of those women are asking the same question, what's the purpose? What's the point of doing this? Is this really creating the world that I want?
I think that the next step for women is going to be really interrogating really, inquiring into the question of purpose. What are we doing here? What is it, what can we build together? What can we create together? How can we come together to be a force in culture? I was talking to someone today who is a very well respected convener of large processes, you know, like the kinds of things that have been done, like at the UN. And I said something about women needing to find a deeper authority in themselves and finding a deeper purpose from that authority. And he said, "Yes, because women give up." And I think that a lot of businesses at this point see that investing in women is difficult, because women often leave. It's like, "Why would I train someone for seven years and then have her split?" And women are saying, "Why do I want to be there when I don't really feel that it's making a difference?"
So I think that there's going to be a new and energized conversation about what are we doing here? What world are we creating? And I think that's something that women need to begin to do together, but not in a way like it was done in the '70's, where it was, we're doing this together and because we're victimized by men, but we're doing this together because there are structures in ourselves that keep us from being able to be the kinds of agents of change that we need to be in order to create the world that we want.
Question: Are men struggling with the same dilemma?
Elizabeth Debold: I think men have a need for purpose and I think if you look at younger men and, you know, you look at men in their 20's, 30's, sort of the Gen X and Gen Y generations, I think part of what is going on there, is they're saying "What's the point?" "Are you kidding me?" "I'm going to work for 20 years in this business and get what for it? It's like, and they do things around the world that I don't feel that I can be behind. Forget about it.
Now, we're talking about young people at the leading edge of culture, we're not talking the vast swath of folks who are living in a more traditional context. We're talking about people whose lives have been blown open by the last 40 years and who have grown and come of age in a world where, hey, you pick your life, you know, you choose what you want to do. And in that context, there's a real, I think a lot of young men feel confronted by, "Well, what can I do that would make a difference? Or that would matter anyway?" I think this is true for many young men and young women. And I think men of the older generation, boomer men, are more part of the system and have been part of the system and find more of a sense of congruence with “I'm making this happen, the world, my business, it's my project, I'm making this happen, and I find meaning in that. And I’m a master of my own universe and I'm creating something in the world and I'm proud of that.” And I think younger people feel less able to kind of enter and engage with. And don't want to come in at the bottom. Which may be a misguided notion, but the sense of purpose for all of us is becoming only more and more urgent.
Question: When it comes to women, what has sex become?
Elizabeth Debold: I think recreational sex has been something that's been around for quite some time and certainly has been exploded into popular culture with the '60's generation. Sex has become more and more commoditized. I read an article recently about prostitution being a new, like lucrative life choice for young women. I think the new Freakonomics book was mentioning that.
Women's sexuality-- everybody knows that, all you have to do is look around you, you know, and you can see that. What's fascinating is in this context where women are very much sexualized and commoditized in the marketplace, that young women are remarkably percentage wise non-orgasmic. And I find that absolutely fascinating. That the same young women who are strutting their stuff and acting super confident in relationship to their sexuality, are often not having or experiencing pleasure in sex, at least not at the orgasm level. And I think that that shows that there's a real disjunct between what it is that young women want and need in order to be really, stay really connected with themselves, and sort of where the culture has been going.
So will there be some kind of push back in relation to that? I don't know. But I think that women need to start having a conversation about this and I think young women need to start having a conversation about this.
Question: What do women want?
Elizabeth Debold: What do women want? I think if you have to ask the question, which women? Who are we talking about? Because I think that for most women on this planet, what they want is security, a safe place to be able to raise their children, a way to ensure that their children's lives are in some ways better than their own. These are classic things that women have wanted for, probably for millennia.
But if you're asking it of someone who watches Big Think, who are typically more progressive, you know, educated, post modern women, what do we want? I think what we want is the capacity to really make a difference and to have a deeper connection with an authenticate source of power, with a deeper way of being that allows us to have a kind of confidence that is very rare in women. I think we want dignity, respect, and those things are home come by for us women. If you look at, maybe look at the landscape of billboards and advertisements and television shows, you don't see a lot of women with dignity. That's not a characteristic of woman in popular culture at this point.
So I think that there are deep things that women are looking for, a new role in culture. A new way to be able to be active and engaged co-creators of culture. And that's not been our role ever. And I think that women are hungry to be able to do that and the thing is, we often give up, long before we ever even really start to make any headway or we give up very, too easily on that dream of making a difference and having a deeper purpose and authenticity in authority.
Question: Why are women known for backing down?
Elizabeth Debold: I think that because we're very conflict avoidant. I think that when the going gets tough and creative friction starts and you're not sure where things are going to go, I think that we women often want to control things and that's not the way to create something new, or we withdraw. In many ways, we withdraw from the edge of a creative process with other people. We're afraid of the conflict, so it's like, okay, everyone be quiet now. Or no, we're going to do it some other way, or I'm out of here.
And I think that because of having a role as kind of an equal partner and real co-creator in culture is still, to a great extent, optional. That, too, is optional. The being a wife and mother is now optional, but also having work in the world and engaging as a creator in culture is also optional. So whenever things get tough, you can back out. And I think that they're very, very deep reasons why a kind of backing away and self protection is almost an instinctive reaction in women, to things when they get charged and when they get tough. And to be able to be in touch with a deeper creative impulse that allows you to really engage and allows you to engage creatively and with that kind of creativity that you don't know where it's going to go, you don't know what's going to happen next, you're not sure whether or not the room's going to explode, someone's going to get upset, you don't know what's going to happen. To be able to really drive from that place in yourself, that's not a place that women are accustomed to coming from. And as a result, we often opt out, give up, and back down.
Recorded on November 2, 2009
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
- Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
- In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.
- Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
- The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
- The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
An extremely active galaxy<p> <br> </p><p>Radio galaxies are galaxies with extremely active central regions, known as nuclei, which shine incredibly brightly in some part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are known for emitting large jets of ionized matter into intergalactic space at speeds approaching that of light. They are related to quasars and blazars. It is thought that supermassive black holes are the energy source that make these galaxies shine so brightly. </p><p>What makes these two galaxies (known as MGTC J095959.63+024608.6 and MGTC J100016.84+015133.0) so interesting is their size. Only 831 similar, "giant radio galaxies" are known to exist. As study co-author Dr. Matthew Prescott explains, these are particularly large even for <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2021/01/18/we-just-found-two-mysterious-galaxies-62-times-bigger-than-our-milky-way-say-scientists/?sh=76edf29c2892" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">giants</a>:</p><p>"These two galaxies are special because they are amongst the largest giants known, and in the top 10 percent of all giant radio galaxies. They are more than two mega-parsecs across, which is around 6.5 million light-years or about 62 times the size of the Milky Way. Yet they are fainter than others of the same size."</p><p>The smaller of the two is just over two megaparsecs across, roughly six and a half million light-years. The larger is almost another half megaparsec larger than <a href="http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/giant-radio-galaxies-09266.html" target="_blank">that</a>. <br></p><p>Exactly how these things get to be so massive remains a mystery. Some have proposed that they are ejecting matter into unusually empty space, allowing for the jet to expand further, though some evidence contradicts this. The most commonly suggested idea is that they are simply much, much older than the previously observed radio galaxies, allowing more time for expansion to occur.</p>
How does this change our understanding of the universe?<p> While exciting and impressive on their own, the findings also suggest that there are very many more of these giant galaxies than previously supposed. If you were going off the previous estimates for how typical these galaxies are, then the odds of finding these two would be 1 in 2.7×10<sup>6. </sup>This suggests that there must be more, given that the alternative is that the scientists were impossibly lucky. </p><p> In the study, the researchers also apply this reasoning to smaller versions of these galaxies, saying:</p><p> "While our analysis has considered only enormous (>2 Mpc) objects, if radio galaxies must grow to reach this size, then we may expect to similarly uncover in our data previously undetected GRGs with smaller sizes."</p><p> Exactly how common radio galaxies and turn out to be remains to be seen. Still, it will undoubtedly be an exciting time for radio astronomy as new telescopes are turned skywards to search for them.</p>
How did they find them?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c1ZW3nVfe5A" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> The new galaxies were discovered by the amusingly named <a href="https://www.sarao.ac.za/gallery/meerkat/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">MeerKAT</a> radio telescope in South Africa during the creation of a new radio map of the sky. The MeerKAT is the first of what will soon be the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_Kilometre_Array" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Square Kilometre Array</a> of telescopes, which will span several countries in the southern hemisphere and make even more impressive discoveries in radio astronomy possible. </p>
The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.
- A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
- It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
- The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
The ocean depths are home to many creatures that some consider to be unnatural.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NzY4My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTUwMzg0NX0.BTK3zVeXxoduyvXfsvp4QH40_9POsrgca_W5CQpjVtw/img.png?width=980" id="b6fb0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2739ec50d9f9a3bd0058f937b6d447ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1512" data-height="2224" />
What benefit does this find have for science? And is it as evil as it looks?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7XqcvwWp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8506fcd195866131efb93525ae42dec4"> <div id="botr_7XqcvwWp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7XqcvwWp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The discovery of a new species is always a cause for celebration in zoology. That this is the discovery of an animal that inhabits the deeps of the sea, one of the least explored areas humans can get to, is the icing on the cake.</p><p>Helen Wong of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored the species' description, explained the importance of the discovery:</p><p>"The identification of this new species is an indication of just how little we know about the oceans. There is certainly more for us to explore in terms of biodiversity in the deep sea of our region." </p><p>The animal's visual similarity to Darth Vader is a result of its compound eyes and the curious shape of its <a href="https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/research/sjades2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" style="">head</a>. However, given the location of its discovery, the bottom of the remote seas, it may be associated with all manner of horrifically evil Elder Things and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu" target="_blank" rel="dofollow">Great Old Ones</a>. <em></em></p>
Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.
Maladaptive daydreaming<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwMjgyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0OTUxNzc3Nn0.yVIUGnZl6VnJhfevESkBpb1TEvwKrHcLtobwNJV55HI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C63%2C0%2C63&height=700" id="713cf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2d24a66284b3aa58ad16b66c135dc9d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
One maladaptive dreamer spent hours a day dreaming he was a powerful man who could solve the world's problems.
(Photo: Pixabay)<p>Daydreaming is an indulgence of the mind and imagination, one provided courtesy of the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/default-mode-network#:~:text=The%20default%20mode%20network%20(DMN,and%20Exercise%20Psychology%20Research%2C%202016" target="_blank">default mode network</a>, a network of interacting brain regions that is active even when the conscious mind is not. But like so many of life's indulgences—wine, steak dinners, video games, and even <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-too-much-exercise-can-be-bad-042514" target="_blank">exercise</a>—too much daydreaming can be harmful to our well-being. When daydreaming crosses that threshold, it can be considered maladaptive.</p><p>This disorder was first identified by <a href="https://haifa.academia.edu/EliSomer" target="_blank">Eli Somer</a>, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Haifa, School of Social Work, in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1020597026919" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a 2002 paper</a>. That paper looked to six patients in a trauma center whose daydreaming habits replaced human interactions or interfered with their standard life functions, such as going to school or holding down a job. </p><p>Since then, other case studies have looked at <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/maladaptive-daydreaming#:~:text=Maladaptive%20daydreaming%20is%20a%20psychiatric,life%20events%20trigger%20day%20dreams." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">maladaptive daydreamers</a> and compiled a list of potential symptoms. These include vivid, richly-detailed daydreams; abnormally long daydreaming sessions; daydreams triggered by real-life events; daydreaming sessions that interrupt sleep; and repetitive motions or whisperings while daydreaming. On average, one study reported, maladaptive daydreamers spend <a href="https://bigthink.com/bps-research-digest/people-with-maladaptive-daydreaming-spend-an-average-of-four-hours-a-day-lost-in-their-imagination" target="_self">four hours a day</a> housed in their imaginations.</p><p>"This is not like rehearsing a conversation that you might have with a boss," <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/30/health/maladaptive-daydreaming-feature/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Somer told CNN</a>. "This is fanciful, weaving of stories. It produces an intense sense of presence."</p><p>While such symptoms are common, though not comprehensive or guaranteed, how maladaptive daydreams manifest are naturally individual to the dreamers. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426361/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In one case study</a>, researchers analyzed the diary of a man codenamed "Peter." Peter described investing as many as 14 hours a day online. The news and images he happened upon would trigger related fantasies. For example, he may envision himself as a multimillionaire genius who could prevent bad news from occurring or self-insert himself into the power fantasies of superhero movies or police procedurals for hours at a time.</p><p>"When I felt this pain as a child, I started imagining how things could be different. I created stories which never happened. To suppress that pain I would hug my pillow or quilt, thinking I was being comforted by someone else," Peter wrote.</p><p>In an interview with CNN, Cordellia Rose described her maladaptive daydreaming like a drug and noted that her daydreams developed into intricate storylines that could last for years. These stories proved so distracted that she was unable to complete everyday tasks such as driving lessons.</p><p>"You get hooked on it, because it can be like an action movie in your head that's so gripping that you cannot turn off," Rose told CNN. "This [condition] needs to be public, because these are people suffering, and badly."</p><p>To be clear, maladaptive dreaming is not a <a href="https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis#1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">psychotic disorder</a> like schizophrenia. Daydreamers such as Peter and Rose are aware that their fantasies are as unreal as they may be unrealistic. Because of this, many maladaptive dreamers understand the difficulties they face and the real-life losses they have endured for the sake of their fantasies. </p>