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Johann Hari quotes Showing 1-30 of 263

“I respect you as a person too much to respect your ridiculous beliefs.”
Johann Hari
“It isn’t the drug that causes the harmful behavior—it’s the environment. An isolated rat will almost always become a junkie. A rat with a good life almost never will, no matter how many drugs you make available to him. As Bruce put it: he was realizing that addiction isn’t a disease. Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you—it’s the cage you live in.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, he said—it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else. If you have lots of people around you—perhaps even a husband or wife, or a family, or a busy workplace—but you don’t share anything that matters with them, then you’ll still be lonely.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“It is a natural human instinct to turn our fears into symbols, and destroy the symbols, in the hope that it will destroy the fear. It is a logic that keeps recurring throughout human history, from the Crusades to the witch hunts to the present day.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“punishment—shaming a person, caging them, making them unemployable—traps them in addiction. Taking that money and spending it instead on helping them to get jobs and homes and decent lives makes it possible for many of them to stop.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“Protracted loneliness causes you to shut down socially, and to be more suspicious of any social contact, he found. You become hypervigilant. You start to be more likely to take offense where none was intended, and to be afraid of strangers. You start to be afraid of the very thing you need most. John calls this a “snowball” effect, as disconnection spirals into more disconnection. Lonely people are scanning for threats because they unconsciously know that nobody is looking out for them, so no one will help them if they are hurt. This snowball effect, he learned, can be reversed—but to help a depressed or severely anxious person out of it, they need more love, and more reassurance, than they would have needed in the first place. The tragedy, John realized, is that many depressed and anxious people receive less love, as they become harder to be around. Indeed, they receive judgment, and criticism, and this accelerates their retreat from the world. They snowball into an ever colder place.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“The Internet was born into a world where many people had already lost their sense of connection to each other. The collapse had already been taking place for decades by then. The web arrived offering them a kind of parody of what they were losing—Facebook friends in place of neighbors, video games in place of meaningful work, status updates in place of status in the world. The comedian Marc Maron once wrote that “every status update is a just a variation on a single request: ‘Would someone please acknowledge me?”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
“The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety. It's connection. It's all I can offer. It's all that will help [you] in the end. If you are alone, you cannot escape addiction. If you are loved, you have a chance. For a hundred years we have been singing war songs about addicts. All along, we should have been singing love songs to them.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“Your working assumption, when you meet a homophobe, should be that they are gay.”
Johann Hari
“So instead of seeing your depression and anxiety as a form of madness, I would tell my younger self—you need to see the sanity in this sadness. You need to see that it makes sense. Of course it is excruciating. I will always dread that pain returning, every day of my life. But that doesn’t mean the pain is insane, or irrational. If you touch your hand to a burning stove, that, too, will be agony, and you will snatch your hand away as quickly as possible. That’s a sane response. If you kept your hand on the stove, it would burn and burn until it was destroyed.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
“for each traumatic event that happened to a child, they were two to four times more likely to grow up to be an addicted adult.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“the core of addiction doesn’t lie in what you swallow or inject—it’s in the pain you feel in your head. Yet we have built a system that thinks we will stop addicts by increasing their pain. “If I had to design a system that was intended to keep people addicted, I’d design exactly the system that we have right now,”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“I kept noticing a self-help cliché that people say to each other all the time, and share on Facebook incessantly. We say to each other: “Nobody can help you except you.” It made me realize: we haven’t just started doing things alone more, in every decade since the 1930s. We have started to believe that doing things alone is the natural state of human beings, and the only way to advance. We have begun to think: I will look after myself, and everybody else should look after themselves, as individuals. Nobody can help you but you. Nobody can help me but me. These ideas now run so deep in our culture that we even offer them as feel-good bromides to people who feel down—as if it will lift them up. But John has proven that this is a denial of human history, and a denial of human nature. It leads us to misunderstand our most basic instincts. And this approach to life makes us feel terrible.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
“More than 50 percent of Americans have breached the drug laws. Where a law is that widely broken, you can’t possibly enforce it against every lawbreaker. The legal system would collapse under the weight of it. So you go after the people who are least able to resist, to argue back, to appeal—the poorest and most disliked groups. In the United States, they are black and Hispanic people, with a smattering of poor whites.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“I got my dad a great father's Day present. He called to say: 'Ach. Zis present is so good I now think it vas almost vorth having children.”
Johann Hari
“Despair often happens, he had learned, when there is a “lack of balance between efforts and rewards.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“Eastern philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti,26 who explained: “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“The more you think life is about having stuff and superiority and showing it off, the more unhappy, and the more depressed and anxious, you will be.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“Ethan Nadelmann, one of the leading drug reformers in the United States, had explained: "People overdose because [under prohibition] they don't know if the heroin is 1 percent or 40 percent...Just imagine if every time you picked up a bottle of wine, you didn't know whether it was 8 percent alcohol or 80 percent alcohol [or] if every time you took an aspirin, you didn't know if it was 5 milligrams or 500 milligrams.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met. You need to have a community. You need to have meaningful values, not the junk values you’ve been pumped full of all your life, telling you happiness comes through money and buying objects. You need to have meaningful work. You need the natural world. You need to feel you are respected. You need a secure future. You need connections to all these things. You need to release any shame you might feel for having been mistreated.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“When they added up the figures, John and other scientists found that being disconnected from the people around you had the same effect on your health as being obese—which was, until then, considered the biggest health crisis the developed world faced.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
“When they talk among themselves, advertising people have been admitting since the 1920s that their job is to make people feel inadequate—and then offer their product as the solution to the sense of inadequacy they have created.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“To end loneliness, you need other people—plus something else. You also need, he explained to me, to feel you are sharing something with the other person, or the group, that is meaningful to both of you. You have to be in it together—and “it” can be anything that you both think has meaning and value.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you—it’s the cage you live in.”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“Wouldn’t it be better to spend our money on rescuing kids before they become addicts than on jailing them after we have failed?”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
“The difference between being online and being physically among people, I saw in that moment, is a bit like the difference between pornography and sex: it addresses a basic itch, but it’s never satisfying.”
Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
“How do we start to rebuild a society where we don’t feel so alone and afraid, and where we can form healthier bonds? How do we build a society where we look for happiness in one another rather than in consumption?”
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

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