from the world's big
What Trump Can Teach Reason-Loving Smart Folks
Many smart folk need to relearn what Trump knows, and Aristotle taught, about persuasion. Logic and facts alone often don't persuade.
1. Like him or loathe him, Trump can teach us much. Especially smart folk enthralled by an unempirical faith in logic.
2. Simon Schama calls Trump’s “war against knowledge” the “Enlightenment's nightmare.” But many Enlightenment fans use “reason” to resist reality (consistently rejecting knowledge about choosing).
3. Covering Democracy for Realists, George Monbiot calls Enlightenment-inspired “rational choice” notions a “folk theory of democracy.” But “rational choice” is a reality-starved elite (not folk) theory.
4. The vast majority of voters can’t rationally choose policy (lacking skills, facts, time, inclination). Providing more facts won’t help—behavioral economists are (re)learning, choosing doesn't work that way.
5. Trump instinctively gets the “behavioral” gist. Salespeople and marketers were doing behavioral economics long before that field’s arrival (e.g., Rory Sutherland’s interview, + Mark Thompson’s book).
7. Aristotle described 3 keys of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos (argument, persona, attuned emotions).
9. Those who prefer logos-only approaches have lost the plot. Pathologizing appeals to pathos and ethos, abandons all but the weakest persuader.
10. Trump knows that logic alone often won’t sell (and often isn’t needed). Facts often don’t change minds.
11. A logos-driven approach is an empirical error (a logic-intoxicated aspirational “reality-denying” doctrine). It’s self-evident (+measurable) that feelings and prior beliefs shape thinking about new “facts.”
12. Hume’s “Reason Is… the Slave of the Passions,” should enlighten (updated here, here). Passions precede and feed and frame following reason (launching local script logic, often lacking global coherence).
13. However distasteful to reason-seduced logic-lovers, Trump’s politically atypical contradictory ethos helps him orchestrate different pathos-playing tunes (cacophonous coalition).
14. Aren’t we all contradiction-filled? Aren’t many accepted premises contradictory?
16. For arguments, as for products, it’s not the best, but the best marketed, with the best rhetoric, that wins. (E.g. "policy formulation has moved from…prose to bullet point and graphic…argument to story").
18. Confirmation bias beautifully illustrates a key Enlightenment error. It worsens solo thinking, but can improve collective thinking (see Mercier’s persuasive/“argumentative theory of reasoning”). That collectiveness is vital, our minds evolved for self-deficient, relationally rational, survival.
20. The Enlightenment’s flight from the supernatural has generated a sub-natural (sub-empirical) view of human nature (our odd mix...hedonistic + self-sacrificing, individual + social, rational + emotional).
21. Such unempirical errors of the Enlightenment now threaten its gifts. Unrealistic reason-intoxicated mind-models enable Trump-like irrational self-maximizers.
Illustration by Julia Suits, author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions, and The New Yorker cartoonist.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.