Is it safe to talk to Familiar Strangers?
I am not sure who coined the phrase 'familiar strangers', but I have been thinking about it a lot since I gave up my car and started to use public transport (mainly trains). It amuses and often also distresses me to watch people as they travel to and from their work pens. The majority are creatures of habit and are seen every day in the same place, with the same propoganda/pacifying sheet (sorry newspaper), eyes averted from all of the other people that they also see every day, as if they were scared that to communicate would bring on a personal armageddon and certain mental ill health. They face the track and don't turn to see the sun rise, or look up to marvel at the beauty of the clouds, or moon. I picked a subject (OK a nice looking female - hey I'm not dead yet!) and studied her habits for a few days before 'moving in' and saying 'hi'. It was polite and followed by a few typically British remarks about the weather. She responded quite well, but I could sense the suspicion and even anger in her at being so woken from her trance. The next morning she had moved down the platform to start the process of gaining a new space slot for herself amongst the 'sane' people. Since then I have 'dislodged' three other people, one more female and two male. I am doing wrong and if so why? Could I be 'doing a Matrix' on these poor people and damaging their well being by acting in what was instilled in me as a child as 'normal' social interaction'?
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
A little goes a long way.
- A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
- Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
- Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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