#10: Become an intellectual explorer | Top 10 2019

The countdown is on for our top 10 videos of the year! Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? This video will teach you to have better conversations using 3 key design principles.

  • Big Think's #10 most popular video of 2019 will teach you how to expand your intellect through the art of insightful conversation. First up: What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, details the 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
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VPNs are a must for private browsing in 2020. Here are huge deals on 5 of them

With a virtual private network, you're accessing a separate server for your internet use, making it virtually impossible for hackers or malicious outsiders to track your online activities and hack your accounts.

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    Insiders and outsiders keep democracy alive: Whistleblowing, civil disobedience and discourse

    From the Revolutionary War, to Rosa Parks and #MeToo, whistleblowing and civil disobedience are in America's DNA.

    Insiders and outsiders keep democracy alive: Whistleblowing, civil disobedience and discourse
    • The first U.S. whistleblower protection law was passed unanimously in 1778 in response to the misconduct of Navy Commodore Esek Hopkins.
    • Whistleblowing and civil disobedience are tools of discourse that keep elites honest and protect democracy.
    • The difference? Whistleblowers are insiders who expose improper conduct to the authorities or to the press. Civil disobedience starts with outsiders whose actions slowly gain popular support, which then catalyzes change.
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    Rules for civil engagement: How to talk with someone unlike yourself

    Here are some practical ways to disagree and get along with someone at the same time.

    Rules for civil engagement: How to talk with someone unlike yourself
    • There are a basic set of rules you can use when talking with someone who believes different things than you do, says Jonathan Zimmerman.
    • Statements like, "You're a blankety-blank" close discussions rather than open them. Instead, say, "You know, that's interesting. That's not the way I see it. Tell me more about why you think that." Being more open about your intentions can help, too. Tell the person that you see the issue from a different angle, and ask them what they think of your view.
    • A key rule for civil discourse, especially in this political climate, is to recognize the difference between emotion and argument. The depth of conviction with which something is said is not a substitute for argument quality or truth.
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    Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.

    Here's what to say in an era where many people are too afraid to say anything.

    Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.
    Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
    • In a diverse world, we run the risk of accidentally saying something that will offend someone. That does not mean you should automatically be disqualified from continuing in the discussion. We cannot have a 'one strike you're out' reaction, says Allison Stanger.
    • If you offend someone inadvertently, it's extremely important that you apologize and say 'That was not my intention.' Apologizing is the foundation for being able to move forward, and if the offense caused was accidental, there's no reason not to apologize.
    • If you are the person who has been offended, realize that people make mistakes when they think out loud and engage in discourse. We cannot stamp out implicit biases but people can grow self-aware and learn from their mistakes. Try to be more generous to people who accidentally offend you.
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    Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation

    Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.

    Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation
    Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
    • What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
    • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
    • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
    Keep reading

    How to defeat moral grandstanders (and stay classy while doing it)

    These effective strategies can minimize harmful moral grandstanding – in yourself and in others.

    How to defeat moral grandstanders (and stay classy while doing it)
    Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
    • What is moral grandstanding? Here's a comprehensive explanation of the psychology that drives this disruptive and divisive online behavior.
    • Moral grandstanding may have very serious consequences for social discourse, but calling it out and shaming moral grandstanders is unproductive, says Brandon Warmke.
    • To defeat moral grandstanding, you can do several things. Before posting anything online, ask yourself: 'Am I doing this to do good or am I doing this to look good?'. You can deny attention and praise to moral grandstanders, and you can redirect your own impulse to signal morality into actual volunteer work instead of online posts.
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