Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

The only way to 'build a wall' without destroying the U.S.

There's more than one kind of wall that we can build. Building the right kind of wall might even be good for the U.S.

JARED DIAMOND: In a crisis, both a personal crisis and a national crisis, there's the issue that's called building the wall, which like many things, can be healthy or unhealthy. When we have a personal crisis, for example, a marital crisis or a career crisis, often we feel everything in my life has gone wrong. I'm overwhelmed. My life is in a total mess. And when you feel that way, there's no way that you can attack the problem, because you feel that everything is messed up. You have to build a wall, and you have to delineate -- within the wall is the thing: Your life has gone wrong. You messed up your marriage. But outside that wall, your relationships with your friends and your job, they're perfectly OK.

Similarly with nations -- nations, when they encounter a crisis, they have to build a wall -- in a good sense. They have to recognize what is not working and recognize what is working. The United States has problems today. But there are wonderful things about the United States. We have a long history of democracy. We have a federal system, which is a great system of government. We profit from this wonderful geography. We've been able to use immigration throughout our history creatively, more creatively than any other country that I know of. And so, outside the wall are all these things that are working well in the United States. Inside the wall, we've got problems. We should not feel overwhelmed with a sense that everything is messed up with the United States. No, it's not that messed up.

That's a good form of isolation, building a wall. A bad form of building a wall is cutting yourself off from the outside world. That's no longer possible for the United States or any other first world country, because in this globalized world, they, out there, can do things. They can reach us. They can send immigrants. They can send terrorists, unintentionally, diseases spreading from tropical countries can reach temperate zone countries. In the 1920s and 1930s, the United States had an isolationist foreign policy. And that meant postponing the day of reckoning when we had to deal with Germany and Japan. In short, isolation can be harmful. But isolation is also necessary, isolating what works from what doesn't work.

  • In times of crisis, we often 'build a wall' that separates the part of our lives that feels out of control from the parts that are more in control.
  • This is healthy and can help us maintain perspective.
  • Nations, too, build walls during times of crisis. But those walls can't be designed to isolate ourselves from others; rather, they need to delineate what is working and what isn't.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast