Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | October 28, 2008

Things to Worry About – An Occasional Series

Have you noticed how there’s always something to worry about? No sooner have you recovered from that troublesome ailment that you discover you’ve got no money, and so it goes on. Behavioural psychologists have invented a treatment method known as ‘flooding’ whereby you swamp the psyche with the very thing that bothers it, so that it effectively gives up and moves on to greater things. If, for example, you are afraid of spiders, the flooding approach recommends dipping your hands in a bucket of rubber spiders, then later playing with lots of real ones.

Applying the same concept to worry I’ve had the idea of introducing an occasional series here of ‘things to worry about’. With enough of them hopefully we will find ourselves strangely calm and happy with life – achieving that state of equanimity so sought after in most spiritual traditions.

Today’s thing to worry about: Neuroprivacy.

This excerpt from the Neuroethics & Law Blog explains:

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York has published a report on “privacy concerns with respect to mental and cerebral functioning as delineated through brain imaging and other neurodiagnostic techniques — or what will be referred to here as ‘neuroprivacy'”.  The report gives particular attention to so-called “brain fingerprinting.” An article in today’s New York Law Journal (not available free), entitled “Are Your Thoughts Your Own?”, describes the report and some of its authors:

Subtitled “‘Neuroprivacy’ and the Legal Implications of Brain Imaging,” the 24-page report is meant as a call to action in light of existing and future developments in the scientific detection of subliminal preferences, hidden knowledge and “bad thoughts” some might say could predict dangerous behavior.

Joking aside, this is a serious issue – and one more thing to worry about.


  1. So your intention is to flood us with things we’ve never heard of before in the hope that resulting worry will overwhelm us to the point of surrender? Fascinating. Maybe you should throw in a few phobias as well for good measure 🙂

  2. Everybody ‘s got something to hide ‘xcept for me and my Monkey – John Lennon ( I think).
    For now am I flooded with fear of flying, a big enough task as it were…

  3. That’s the plan Murray!

    And what a fabulous link to all sorts of splendid worries. Ergasiophobia is the one I’m struggling with today!

  4. Good luck with your fear of flying Hennie… I know that’s a horrid one, but it is surmountable. Perhaps you can replace it with Ergasiophobia too.

  5. My psyche has been thoroughly swamped, flooded, deluged by the Dentist today (root canal torture!) – no, not working, still terrified, and now I have Neuroprivacy (!?) to worry about as well! Thank you Philip!! Have a little compassion for a woman reduced to sucking coffee through a straw in public!

  6. My abject apologies Maria. I don’t know what came over me posting that…I must have some sort of problem that I must now explore…and then worry about! Perhaps its that niggling Ergasiophobia.

    I know that coffee thing. The last time I had root canal I treated myself to coffee-through-a-straw-in-public in a brand new Borders bookshop that had just opened in Wellington. That and the laughing gas the dentist gave me made the whole experience quite transcendental.

  7. Laughing gas! I’m jealous!

    Ah…Ergasiophobia…welcome to my world Philip….(and yes, I did have to look it up!).

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