I just ordered this book. Check out this excerpt from a review in last week's Sunday NYT:
"The worldviews Haidt discusses may differ from yours. They dI just ordered this book. Check out this excerpt from a review in last week's Sunday NYT:
"The worldviews Haidt discusses may differ from yours. They don’t start with the individual. They start with the group or the cosmic order. They exalt families, armies and communities. They assume that people should be treated differently according to social role or status — elders should be honored, subordinates should be protected. They suppress forms of self-expression that might weaken the social fabric. They assume interdependence, not autonomy. They prize order, not equality.
These moral systems aren’t ignorant or backward. Haidt argues that they’re common in history and across the globe because they fit human nature. He compares them to cuisines. We acquire morality the same way we acquire food preferences: we start with what we’re given. If it tastes good, we stick with it. If it doesn’t, we reject it. People accept God, authority and karma because these ideas suit their moral taste buds. Haidt points to research showing that people punish cheaters, accept many hierarchies and don’t support equal distribution of benefits when contributions are unequal.
You don’t have to go abroad to see these ideas. You can find them in the Republican Party. Social conservatives see welfare and feminism as threats to responsibility and family stability. The Tea Party hates redistribution because it interferes with letting people reap what they earn. Faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order — these Republican themes touch all six moral foundations, whereas Democrats, in Haidt’s analysis, focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression. This is Haidt’s startling message to the left: When it comes to morality, conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals. They serve a more varied diet.
This is where Haidt diverges from other psychologists who have analyzed the left’s electoral failures. The usual argument of these psycho-pundits is that conservative politicians manipulate voters’ neural roots — playing on our craving for authority, for example — to trick people into voting against their interests. But Haidt treats electoral success as a kind of evolutionary fitness test. He figures that if voters like Republican messages, there’s something in Republican messages worth liking. He chides psychologists who try to “explain away” conservatism, treating it as a pathology. Conservatism thrives because it fits how people think, and that’s what validates it. Workers who vote Republican aren’t fools. In Haidt’s words, they’re “voting for their moral interests.” ...more
Hilton Kramer died today. He led the charge against both Philistines and nihilists in the art world and culture in general. His NYT and New CriterionHilton Kramer died today. He led the charge against both Philistines and nihilists in the art world and culture in general. His NYT and New Criterion pieces are wonderful....more
Have not read this book but am posting a review here because Goodreads does not list the book by this author that I am currently reading. (I know therHave not read this book but am posting a review here because Goodreads does not list the book by this author that I am currently reading. (I know there is a way to add a book that's not in the archives, but I suspect you cannot do it from a phone.)
Am (almost) in the middle of Buchman's "Rambam and Redemption: the Haggadah and the Seder in the Works of the Rambam." Lots of interesting things here- beginning with the Rambam's conception of a "Haggadah of Galus"-- and the author goes through the Haggadah and explicates the Rambam's ideas on the verses, but (so far) he doesn't deliver what the jacket promised: "a deeper understanding of the Rambam's fascinating and profound perspective on Jewish history and the Jewish mission in the world."
I've read (and highly recommend) several books that do just that for the ideas of the Maharal, and was hoping to find that broad overview here. Maybe it will come if I keep reading.
Meanwhile, does anyone have suggestions for a great Haggadah? I never bought the Haggadah of Rav Soleveitchik that came out a year or two ago, so I will probably go with that. But I am open to suggestions.......more
Read Maria Popova's review on the Brain Picking website and immediately ordered my own copy. (Uh oh- think my "to-read" list is getting a little out oRead Maria Popova's review on the Brain Picking website and immediately ordered my own copy. (Uh oh- think my "to-read" list is getting a little out of hand!)
What the periodic table has to do with obscure photographic techniques and Italian erotic séances.
"To stay true to Curie’s spirit and legacy, Redniss rendered her poetic artwork in an early-20th-century image printing process called cyanotype, critical to the discovery of both X-rays and radioactivity itself — a cameraless photographic technique in which paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals. Once exposed to the sun’s UV rays, this chemically-treated paper turns a deep blue color. The text in the book is a unique typeface Redniss designed using the title pages of 18th- and 19th-century manuscripts from the New York Public Library archive. She named it Eusapia LR, for the croquet-playing, sexually ravenous Italian Spiritualist medium whose séances the Curies used to attend. The book’s cover is printed in glow-in-the-dark ink.
...Stunningly beautiful in both concept and execution, Radioactive is a rare cross-pollination of art and science, the kind of storytelling that makes us care about stories."
Who can resist the lure of a book like this? Certainly not me.
Had heard of this book but dismissed it as another Gladwell wannabe type book. (And even Gladwell's science is often of the "pop" variety.) A "best ofHad heard of this book but dismissed it as another Gladwell wannabe type book. (And even Gladwell's science is often of the "pop" variety.) A "best of..." review on Brain Pickings- a REALLY smart website- has convinced me to give this a try:
"From confirmation bias — our tendency to seek out information, whether or not it’s true, that confirms our existing beliefs, something all the more perilous in the age of the filter bubble — to Dunbar’s Number, our evolution-imposed upper limit of 150 friends, which pulls into question those common multi-hundred Facebook “friendships,” McRaney blends the rigor of his career as a journalist with his remarkable penchant for synthesis, humanizing some of the most important psychology research of the past century and framing it in the context of our daily lives.
Despite his second-person directive narrative, McRaney manages to keep his tone from being preachy or patronizing, instead weaving an implicit “we” into his “you” to encompass all our shared human fallibility.
"From the greatest scientist to the most humble artisan, every brain within every body is infested with preconceived notions and patterns of thought that lead it astray without the brain knowing it. So you are in good company. No matter who your idols and mentors are, they too are prone to spurious speculation.” ~ David McRaney
And in the age of Books That Should’ve Stayed Articles, it’s refreshing to see McRaney distill each of these complex phenomena in articulate, lucid narratives just the right length to be stimulating without being tediously prolix."...more
From a Scientific America interview with the author:
"As I pondered these findings, I started looking at how people used pronouns in other texts — blogFrom a Scientific America interview with the author:
"As I pondered these findings, I started looking at how people used pronouns in other texts — blogs, emails, speeches, class writing assignments, and natural conversation. Remarkably, how people used pronouns was correlated with almost everything I studied. For example, use of first-person singular pronouns (I, me, my) was consistently related to gender, age, social class, honesty, status, personality, and much more. Although the findings were often robust, people in daily life were unable to pick them up when reading or listening to others. It was almost as if there was a secret world of pronouns that existed outside our awareness.” ~ James Pennebaker
Language and psychology is a hard-to-resist combination for an English teacher and writer!...more