Psychology

Therein lies their significance. For historical currents do not irresistibly propel themselves and everyone in their path. No matter what their broader structural or ideological roots, they both carry along and are carried along by people, who are not merely the passengers of history, but its pilots as well. In the end, social history is […]

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The Atlantic has an interesting article by Kurt Anderson about why so many Americans believe the crazy things they do. He argues that it’s both rooted in history and particular to the ideologies and self-understanding of the United States: America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which […]

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When we think about global trends, we tend to focus on their importance and how rapidly things are changing. China’s economic rise, along with massive economic development and urbanization around the world, all have unambiguous importance, though we will endlessly disagree about how they will interact and few of us will live long enough to […]

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This is worth a read: Polyamory is consensual non-monogamy. It’s a philosophy. Rather than the active pursuing of multiple partners in a lascivious way, it’s the embracing and understanding that it’s possible to fall in love, and have relationships, with more than one person at the same time. Also good: Polyamory

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A new simulation called The Evolution of Trust does a good job of introducing the basic concepts of game theory. As described on BoingBoing, it demonstrates a range of strategies that are possible in a multiplayer game which is iterated and not zero-sum. Most of this was already familiar to me from the international relations […]

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One danger with relationships — from the professional to the familial — is to focus too closely on the recent past when deciding how to feel about them. I find that I have a tendency to feel like the emotional trajectory of the last few days or weeks offers the best chance for estimating what […]

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I had made a tactical error in allowing my personal views to cloud my political judgment. Even if I believed I was right on the merits, I was wrong about the politics. I should have known enough to warn my boss that the invasion [of Grenada in 1983] would be popular even as I advised […]

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It’s selfish, but one thing I hate about living in central Toronto is that there are sirens of one type or another audible almost all day and all night long. Even when no sirens can actually be heard, I hear them screaming in my imagination. The message: “It’s an emergency! But you can’t do anything […]

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A recent Slate article proposes a neurological mechanism for why human behaviour so frequently consists of choices where we harm our own long-term future prospects and those of others in order to satisfy near-term preferences. Not only do our brains seem to regard our future selves as strangers, but most people rarely think about the […]

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Charley Tilley has studied social movements overall and activism specifically as a set of “contentious performances”, in which organizers choose from a “repertoire” on the basis of who they want to influence and what opportunities exist for doing so. Repertoires which are familiar can easily become stale and ineffective, as Micah White discusses in the […]

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