I am scared. There is no getting around that. My husband is a Chinese national. Until a few years ago, the global economy looked like binding the futures of vast numbers of people together. COVID and the war in Ukraine now seem to send an entirely different signal. The experience of global supply chain issues… Continue reading The Slap of Vengeance
During my teens, I believed that for the past three, four thousand years humans and their general cognitive abilities did not evolve much. As I am listening to Iain McGilchrist’s “The Master and His Emissary,” however, I am moved to reconsider. His exposé of how human thought writ large—most prominently described across the ages in… Continue reading The Pain of Progress
I am writing this post early on Thanksgiving morning. A dream with an unpleasant twist woke me up. In that dream, I had been at a festival with a friend. On our way home, we came across a police checkpoint. As the cop who dealt with me looked through the contents of my pockets, he… Continue reading Tell the Truth? Maybe not.
A few days ago, I decided to watch the recently released, and already very controversial, Netflix Special of comedian David Chappelle, “The Closer”. The final segment—in which Chappelle references Daphne, an aspiring comedian transgender woman, who killed herself—is particularly poignant. And through some conversations I had with friends, I realized how deeply this segment connected… Continue reading Empathy as a Prison Key
Books published recently have made the case either for or against empathy. A former colleague and friend, Jamil Zaki, published “The War for Kindness“, subtitled “Building Empathy in a Fractured World.” Paul Bloom, a researcher at Yale University, published “Against Empathy“. They even engaged one another on occasion. This question still remains for me: when… Continue reading How to do Empathy?
The idea of being more— rather than less—sensitive seems intuitively appealing. Take COVID tests for instance: humanity has put enormous amounts of effort into making sure the disease is brought under control. So, more sensitive tests sound like a great idea. As I tried to express in my previous post, however, there are costs involved.… Continue reading The Cost of Hyper Sensitivity
The other day, I watched Jordan Peterson having a conversation with Michael Malice, the author of “Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il“. I really recommend watching the video. One core aspect that Michael talks about is people eliminating their own freedom through self-censorship. They choose conformity, become small and unobtrusive, and hide… Continue reading The Terror of Suspicion
Have you heard about—and maybe believe—the “lab leak hypothesis” related to COVID? The idea is this: people tasked with doing basic research on respiratory viruses might have been partly responsible for the outbreak. Why partly? Their work would have included “gain of function research”, which seeks to investigate more aggressive versions of the virus, artificially… Continue reading Playing With Fire
To avoid confusion, I will start with my own definition of bullshit: whenever I exert energy into efforts which are primarily meant to make others—and sometimes also myself—believe that I have something of value to contribute, or into efforts to shift attention away from my true motives, and a truthful disclosure of what I can… Continue reading Bullshit’s Shadow
Last night, I took part in a group conversation as part of an online course I am taking. Over the past two weeks, participants focused on three aspects of the same general process to which humans are subjected. The outcome of this process are behavioral templates that solve fundamental problems—such as how to fit into… Continue reading Going Off-Script