Re: Where are we?

Virginia Postrel: Well one issue is one that I’ve already touched on, which is the issue of what does it mean to understand human beings as biological creatures, as material, as manipulable? Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to cure diseases and extend life, which have their own implications for societies . . . If everybody starts to live a long time what does that mean? We’re already experienced a doubling of life expectancy worldwide over a hundred years or so. Really quite remarkable. That changes the way societies organize themselves. Not in the sense that people say, “Okay. Now we’re going to get married later and have fewer children.” But it happens partly because of life extension. There’s that . . . sort of the obvious social consequences, but then there’s the deeper philosophical issues. If we are really material, what does that mean? How do we think about that? What do we think about consciousness? If it’s an emergent property of chemical reactions as opposed to a little ghost in your head, does that make you feel worse about yourself in the same way that maybe if you have to give up and be . . . universe centered on earth and man, does that make you feel worse about yourself? You know amazingly enough we got use to that, and we don’t feel worse about ourselves than we did with the earth as the center of the universe. I think we’ll get over this other too. But it raises a lot of issues. What do you do about when you find the biological roots of certain kinds of criminal behavior, or socially destructive behavior? How do you deal with that? It’s a deep, difficult question, especially if the person hasn’t actually done anything bad. How do you think about that? Or if they have done something bad, then you can say we identified the gene that led to this personality disorder. Does that get them off if they killed six people or something? So that, I think, is one big area.

 

Technological advancement and the ensuing social consequences and philosophical debate.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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