Matt Miller on the Psychology of Dead Ideas
Question: Why do we cling to outmoded ways of thinking?
Miller: I’m as prone as anybody to slip into dead ideas. I think in my, you know, in my own professional life, I cling to the idea that rational analysis can, you know, can lead to constructive change which is why I write books like this. And if you read in the history, it’s not clear that was ever that live an idea to begin with, so I’m not holding myself out as, you know, having liver ideas now. But I do think you really need to, and this is true for people as well as for organizations and for societies, you need to find a way to kind of institutionalize a skepticism about the prevailing wisdom, and, you know, in lots of organizations, that can be a career enders. So there’s lots of built-in incentives to sort of go along and go with the group think and we know that’s true in government, we know it’s true in business, it’s true in non-profits. And so, I think especially in an era when experts tell us we’re going to more changes as a society in the next 30 years that we may have seen in the last 300. In this kind of period of accelerated change, dead ideas are really an occupational hazard for everyone, and so we need to make greater efforts all way around to make room for the skepticism, for the court jester, if you will, someone who can just ask the dumb questions that really often end up being the profound ones.
Matt Miller on incubating skepticism.
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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