In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, the "In Theory" blog at the Washington Post published a series on Singlehood in America. The editors initially invited six experts and scholars to contribute. The introductory article at first listed only those six. If only those people wrote for the series, it would have been one of the most insightful, respectful, and non-stigmatizing set of writings about single life ever to appear in a major publication. A few days into the series, though, an unannounced voice appeared. A New York Post columnist and former Wall Street Journal editor wrote an article shaming single mothers and their children. Then a few days after that, another singles-bashing article appeared, this one taking aim specifically at young single men. It was written, unsurprisingly, by Brad Wilcox, who already has an enormous platform and gets his pro-marriage writings published just about everywhere. But apparently he, like the New York Post columnist, was not about to let a … [Read more...] about Single in America: 6 Cutting Edge Perspectives, 2 Others
Akhtar living on the edge
As mentioned here before, psychologists have conducted quite a bit of research on altruism but very little on the overlapping concept of heroism. We sometimes have to look at how people respond to fictional examples as we struggle develop a science of heroism. Here, heroism expert Zeno Franco shares his thoughts about the concept as exemplified in the award-winning Star Trek episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever," which science fiction master Harlan Ellison scripted (original airdate: April 6, 1967). Source: "The City on the Edge of Forever." Original screen capture. Q: First, for those readers who don't know every episode of Star Trek by title, what happens in "The City on the Edge of Forever"? Franco: In “The City on the Edge of Forever,” Enterprise encounters time disturbances emanating from a planet. In the turbulence, Dr. McCoy accidentally injects himself with a hypo causing paranoid psychosis. McCoy beams himself to the planet. … [Read more...] about Psychology’s Final Frontier: Understanding Heroism
In 2013, while researching my clutter memoir, Mess, I watched an English TV documentary about a man named Richard Wallace—“the U.K.’s most extreme hoarder.” His house, in the countryside near London, was literally stuffed to the gills with clutter. It boggled the mind. A local gardener, one Andy Honey, came to Richard’s aid, and began helping him on the long, grinding journey to reduce his hoard. Somehow, I had to go visit. * * * The suburban train deposited me by the picturesque village of Wescott in Surrey. Andy Honey rumbled up in his old work van. He was no longer, … [Read more...] about My Visit to an Extreme Hoarder
Marc Bekoff is one of the foremost ethologists of our time, a scientist of great curiosity and generosity and a tireless advocate for (non-human) animals of every sort, who shows through his life’s work that science and advocacy need not be at odds. For forty years he has studied non-human animals, with a special interest in coyotes, wolves, and their near cousins, domestic dogs—much to the annoyance of those of his colleagues who considered dogs “artifacts,” human creations not worthy of serious inquiry by ethologists. He stirred derision among his more hide-bound colleagues when he talked about cognition, consciousness, and emotion as qualities non-human animals shared with humans. These were not new ideas—Charles Darwin, among other 19th century (and earlier )naturalists, believed them to be true—but by the 20th century, they had had come to be seen as unsuitable for serious scientific inquiry. Source: University of Chicago … [Read more...] about An Eminent Ethologist Elucidates Dogs
Introduction History teaches that organizing evil is easier than organizing good. The simplicity of evil and complexity of good appear rooted in human nature. This imbalance favoring evil is made worse by evolving science and technology without a science of values and morals. Today’s growing interest in “computer coding” as a basic life skill promises to speed up the “pace of life,” and education devoted to reading, writing, and arithmetic, without moral education, may not be enough. Humankind has never known a science capable of giving us moral education beyond the concerns of moral relativity and “who’s morality?” The ancients searched for the moral law within us when they began discovering the law of the heavens above us. Yet, thousands of years passed without defining “good;” even as we defined the atom to build atomic bombs. Are we destined to remain “moral pygmies” better at organizing evil than good? Tour of … [Read more...] about Why Is It Easier to Organize Evil Than Good?