Good points and some wise words from a few writers


Like any intelligent person I read my quota of good articles on the internet. This post references a few such articles.

On 18 September 2016 Andrew Sullivan wrote about silence and technology in an article titled, “I Used to Be a Human Being”. He reminds readers that the Protestant Reformation began with an attack on the medieval fortresses of silence – monasteries. This was followed a few centuries later by the noise and disruption of the Industrial Revolution. He opines that silence has become a symbol of the worthless superstitions we have left behind. And the smartphone revolution of the last decade has according to him been the final nail in the coffin – where the last quiet moments that we still have, what he calls “the tiny cracks of inactivity in our lives” are also being filled with stimulus and noise.

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In another excellent opinion piece titled, “Will the Left Survive the Millennials?” author and journalist Lionel Shriver makes a few good points:

* When she grew up in the sixties and early 1970s, conservatives were the keepers of conformity. It was the people to the right of the political spectrum who were suspicious, always on the lookout for any signs of rebellion. Now, she believes, this role has been taken over by people on the left of the political spectrum.

* In an era where people are so incredibly sensitive, participation in public debate is becoming so risky, with the danger at every turn that you may accidentally use the wrong word or that you may fail to use the right degree of sensitivity regarding disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, race or ethnicity, that people might just start staying away altogether from social gatherings where there is an elevated risk of offending someone.

* She wonders how it has happened that liberal people in the West have come to embrace censorship and the imposition of orthodoxy in thought and speech as an ideology.

* She also reminds the reader that freedom of speech means that you have to be willing to protect the voices of people with whom you may totally disagree.

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The cognitive scientist, Donald Hoffman says evolution does not favour people who have a firm grasp of objective reality – reality as it actually is, but that it favours those who perceive reality in ways that enable them to survive most efficiently and procreate most successfully.

Read the piece, “What If Evolution Bred Reality Out Of Us?” by Adam Frank.

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And finally, wise words from someone who is trying to figure out how to lift a sports team from the valley of despair:

“[T]o paraphrase Albert Einstein, you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it. In other words, problems created with one type of thinking will persist until you think differently — and that usually requires different people (because, in my experience, it takes a mighty epiphany for a person to change their thinking drastically enough).”