Who are we?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

 

Dennis Ross: You know I have to tell you that when I was an academic, I was a big believer in the forces of history. You know nothing happens . . . It’s just these larger dynamics at play. And you know you’re at a certain stage of development. That explains why certain things are possible and not possible. And I must say after I began working and actually trying to negotiate, I became a much bigger believer that it’s the forces of personality much more than the forces of history. When you have strong leaders emerge who are driven by a sense that they’re prepared to achieve big things, or solve conflicts, that changes what’s possible at any given moment.

Sure there are dynamics created by technology. No doubt about that. The world is different today than it was. And we have instant communication, so we’re in a world that is much more connected than it ever was before. And yet, you know, we also see very traditional kinds of conflicts that take place in this globalized world. You look at a place in the Middle East, and we see the most modern of all places in terms of, you know, the instant communication and transmission of money for investment. And we see people who wanna be building everywhere. And we see people who wanna tear down everywhere. So these larger forces are affected by changes in technology; but they’re also affected by individuals and leaders who are prepared in a sense to take the cudgels and try to transform reality as we know it.

 

Recorded on: September 12, 2007

 

As a negotiator, Ross became a believer in the forces of personality and technology.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

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.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • 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.
Keep reading Show less

How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.

Top Video Splash
  • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
  • When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
  • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.