Think we’re all rational actors, taking in information and carefully weighing pros and cons? You haven’t been reading psychological research. Maria Konnikova explains how “Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization” and other human traits impacted the 2016 election.
And if you want to use some knowledge about humans in your next political argument, here are some helpful tips (including such timeless advice as “Forget facts.” and “Don’t be such a dick.”)
Picketty and Saez are at it again, with new graphs about income inequality in the United States. Spoiler alert: it’s all bad news.
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Which maybe should lead us to think about the moral basis of the economy. People at all points on the political spectrum embrace meritocracy, which assumes that some people are more valuable, more deserving, than others. Different philosophies may have different opinions about which people are more deserving: Maybe people with jobs are better than those without jobs. People with an education compared to those without. People with skills. With work ethic. But putting some above others flies in the face of spiritual beliefs, shared by all major religions, that everyone is worthy. Christianity teaches that everyone deserves God’s grace. Buddhism says everyone suffers. The Tao Te Ching counsels taking the good and the bad together, with kindness. Can we embrace a modern economy while retaining some spiritual wisdom?
Tired of thinking about humans? Let’s talk about the mind of an octopus. I think they are the closest thing on earth to an intelligent alien. So different from us, but when you look in one’s eyes you can’t help but see something very aware looking back. They remember individuals (and squirt water at the ones they don’t like!), decorate their homes, and are really good at escaping.
This makes me want to go back to school… Harvard urban planning professor Daniel D’Oca took his class to Ferguson to study the impacts of racial zoning ordinances and other various policies designed to create racial segregation and their historic impacts on inequities today. Students’ final projects included a graphic novel, a K-12 pedagogy textbook to explain the history of segregation in St. Louis County, and more. Many links throughout the article to explore, including the Forward through Ferguson report. (The article was also written by a fave reporter of mine, Brentin Mock. Check out his stuff!)
For a bit of new year inspiration, Co-Founder of Yes! Magazine (a rad media outlet that we often use while compiling our Sightline Daily newsletter) Sarah van Gelder is releasing a book The Revolution Where You Live: Stories from a 12,000 Mile Journey Through a New America—a useful counter-narrative to the Trump election. Sarah highlights stories of dynamic local movements, which are especially critical to feature at a time when making progress at the national level seems almost impossible. It’s refreshing to read about inspiring stories of community resistance and resilience that make you remember what we’re fighting for and how we can move forward together, even in a dark time. Don’t miss her at the Elliott Bay Bookstore on January 23!