Pondering Differences

March 26, 2012

I do a lot of reading, trying to understand what makes people think and act as they do. What motivates us. Why we think this is moral and that is not. I also try very hard to limit my own bias in hopes of actually understanding, even if not accepting other points of view. These two articles were  thoughtful reads.

The first, a review of the book ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt.

“To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided.”

And, “The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others. ”

The second post is brief, but pertinent: ” Why Republican Women Vote for Santorum

“I would hypothesize that women who have accommodated themselves to living an evangelical lifestyle have nothing to gain from questioning the premises of Christian patriarchy. Their lives are more comfortable, less fraught with domestic conflict, if they simply decide to be happy and make the most of their assigned roles.”

And, “How many of us want to challenge the social constructs within which we have created active lives that are reckoned as meaningful? ”

This is a puzzle I have been pondering, and discussing with others.  We cannot all be activists. And I have often wondered if people, as a rule, aren’t more comfortable with certainty – knowing their role, feeling they can predict and define in black and white. Security feels safe.

Uncertainty  and self-responsibility are hard taskmasters.

Once again, Calamities of Nature gets it dead right.

History Humor

September 28, 2011

“When you think about it, a lot of things have happened already,” Ennis added. “That’s what history is.”

What a wonderful revelation.

The Onion has thoughtfully presented an essay on a radical new concept. In simple, easy to comprehend language, historians offer ready-made guidelines for The Nation to use when making decisions.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/historians-politely-remind-nation-to-check-whats-h,26183/

I don’t know why I gave even a wry chuckle at this. There is no reason, no logic, no sense in what the republicans proclaim.

If you truly despise big government, then what are you taking money for?

http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/575.jpg

Be All You *Should* Be

August 4, 2011

Yes!

I can change!

I don’t have to be who I was born as.  I can be what I should be.

Now we just need everyone to agree on what everyone should be.

Suddenly it’s not so easy, is it?

For some reason this image won’t load, so it’s just a link. Sorry.

Lovely little commentary on US history – graphjam style.

http://graphjam.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/funny-graphs-like-it-or-unfriend-it.gif

click image to enlarge

Gotta love it.

Wish people could figure out belief has nothing to do with it. Facts, people. They are not beliefs.

Poignant Art

May 14, 2011

She was in / Eurovision /. I was amazed. But this  – the music, the emotions of the audience:  what powerful feelings this art encapsulates. Perhaps its ephemeral, constantly changing nature reminds us how ephemeral and changing our lives are, for good or ill.

/ Kseniya Simonova – Sand Animation /

Disheartening To Be #1

April 21, 2011

We live in a land of awe-inspiring natural beauty. We have incredible universities, fascinating cities, and wonderful people.

But let us never forget to look at all the facts, even the ones we aren’t proud of.

from graphjam:  http://graphjam.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/usano1.jpg

Nuclear Skepticism

April 4, 2011

I repeat: to be a skeptic is to ask questions; seek answers from reputable sources; and make decisions based on that accumulated, verifiable evidence while still being open to new information.

To be a skeptic is not to be a naysayer, a denier, or a knee-jerk reactionary. It is not to accept without thought or question, nor is it to ignore evidence.

Once again / George Monbiot / addresses failings in critical thinking that severely damage credibility of people who, as recognized spokespeople, must be held to a higher accountability. If you are going to talk in public about an issue, you *must* be well-informed. (his two previous posts address his repeated and unsuccessful attempts to get Helen Caldicott to provide references for her so dramatic statements.)

People trust their chosen leaders. This is an unfortunate but absolute fact of human nature. And if leaders lie, as almost all seem to do, in pursuit of their chosen agenda, people make foolish choices. Global warming will not go away because people trust greedy, manipulative leaders. And nuclear power must be considered intelligently, not in the obscuring cloud of fact manipulations.

We must teach people how to question intelligently and how to recognize reliable sources.

We are running out of options in too many areas. Humanity may survive the coming crises and the wars and devastation that will accompany them, but wouldn’t it be better if we found ways to prevent the worst disasters? We won’t, not without cooperation and reason.

Where are the leaders and the people who seek reason, not power and emotion?

%d bloggers like this: