How Gandhi Are You? Are You Becoming More Or Less Like The Dalai Lama?

In my twenties, I was confused with my “wings.” I was left wing on some things, right wing on others.

How left was I? I wanted to reform capitalism democratically through state regulation. But I didn’t necessarily believe in a more equal distribution of wealth.

How right was I? I advocated the preservation of personal wealth and private ownership.Yet  I didn’t want society to return to traditional/family values.

Then I learned about the Political Compass (

First, it discredits the one-dimensional categories of “right” and “left.” For instance, it says, “On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi.”

Secondly, it proposes a political “compass,” claiming that an “economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis.” The X-axis is the traditional economic left and right. The Y-axis adds a social dimension, going from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.

Thirdly, you can take a test that shows where you are on the compass. After answering about 60 questions about your view on your country, the economy, personal social values, society, religion, and sex, you’re given your “compass.”

My position was:

  • Economic Left/Right: -3.12
  • Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44
  • In my opinion, these numbers only make sense when you see your position on a chart, and then compare your position to those of others. For instance, I’m in the same quadrant as Nelson Mandela (very cool) and Ralph Nader (sort of cool, sort of scary).

    Take the test, find your position on the compass, then you’ll be able to answer the following questions:

    How like George W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher am I?

    Am I closer to Pope Benedict XVI or Milton Friedman?

    Am I more like Sarah Palin or Joe Biden?

    ​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

    Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

    Big Think Edge
    • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
    • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
    • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

    Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

    • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
    • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
    • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why modern men are losing their testosterone

    Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

    Flickr user Tom Simpson
    Sex & Relationships
    • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
    • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
    • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
    Keep reading Show less

    Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

    Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

    Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
    Sponsored by Northwell Health
    • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
    • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
    • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
    Keep reading Show less