69 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. as members of society, we tend to identify with one or another “immortality system” (as Becker calls it). That is, we identify with a religious group, or a political group, or engage in some kind of cultural activity, or adopt a certain culturally sanctioned viewpoint, that we invest with ultimate meaning, and to which we ascribe absolute and permanent truth. This inflates us with a sense of invulnerable righteousness. And then, we have to protect ourselves against the exposure of our absolute truth being just one more mortality-denying system among others, which we can only do by insisting that all other absolute truths are false. So we attack and degrade–preferably kill–the adherents of different mortality- denying-absolute-truth systems. So the Protestants kill the Catholics; the Muslims vilify the Christians and vice versa; upholders of the American way of life denounce Communists; the Communist Khmer Rouge slaughters all the intellectuals in Cambodia; the Spanish Inquisition tortures heretics; and all good students of the Enlightenment demonize religion as the source of all evil. The list could go on and on.

      Once we give ourselves over absolutely to a cultural immortality belief system, that is when our complete identification can emerge a self-righteousness so powerful that any other mortality-denying system that claims to be the truth and therefore threatens ours, must be eliminated.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. So when we step into uncertainty, our bodies respond physiologically and mentally. 00:03:40 Your immune system will start deteriorating. Your brain cells wither and even die. Your creativity and intelligence decrease. We often go from fear to anger, almost too often. Why? Because fear is a state of certainty. You become morally judgmental. You become an extreme version of yourself. If you're a conservative, you become more conservative. If you're a liberal, you become more liberal. 00:04:06 Because you go to a place of familiarity. The problem is that the world changes. And we have to adapt or die. And if you want to shift from A to B, the first step is not B. The first step is to go from A to not A -- to let go of your bias and assumptions; to step into the very place that our brain evolved to avoid; to step into the place of the unknown.

      Uncertainty is uncomfortable and can drive us into ingroup/outgroup formation. It can, in other words, lead to greater social polarization.

      Adaptation requires us to step into the unknown. Big changes in our lives therefore require us to go from the familiar and comfortable space, to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable - movement away from our comfort zone, as is happening as the polycrisis we face gains traction.

    1. in the book i 00:14:51 tried to stay away from politics mainly because what i found was if you don't understand the concept of collective illusion if your first introduction to it is something very polarizing that issue tends to just be the all the thing you 00:15:04 can think about right so it's like you want your head around the actual concept but what's interesting from the political standpoint is not surprisingly our national politics are driving a lot of these illusions and it's happening on 00:15:17 both sides um but it's it's really leading to both both seeing the other side as very extreme when it's not really true but most importantly and even more damaging 00:15:30 we're seeing within any one political party the misunderstanding of our own party

      Introducing the concept of collective illusion within highly polarized context tends to reduce its conceptual understanding. The political impact of collective illusions is that it is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that drives further entrenchment, misunderstanding of one's own ingroup as well as the outgroup.

  3. May 2022
    1. What did Franklin himself think about abortions? In 1728 during his early years as a printer, he generated controversy over something he would end up doing himself. According to “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson, he “manufactured” an abortion debate, largely because he wanted to crush a rival, but his own opinions may not have been too strong about it. Franklin wrote a series of anonymous letters for another paper to draw attention away from Samuel Keimer’s paper: The first two pieces were attacks on poor Keimer, who was serializing entries from an encyclopedia. His initial installment included, innocently enough, an entry on abortion. Franklin pounced. Using the pen names “Martha Careful” and “Celia Shortface,” he wrote letters to Bradford’s paper feigning shock and indignation at Keimer’s offense. As Miss Careful threatened, “If he proceeds farther to expose the secrets of our sex in that audacious manner [women would] run the hazard of taking him by the beard in the next place we meet him.” Thus Franklin manufactured the first recorded abortion debate in America, not because he had any strong feelings on the issue, but because he knew it would help sell newspapers.

      Benjamin Franklin manufactured the first recorded abortion debate in America to help sell his newspapers and to crush a rival.

  4. Mar 2022
    1. Posting a new algorithm, poem, or video on the web makes it a vailable, but unless appropriate recipients notice it, the originator has little chance to influence them.

      An early statement of the problem of distribution which has been widely solved by many social media algorithmic feeds. Sadly pushing ideas to people interested in them (or not) doesn't seem to have improved humanity. Perhaps too much of the problem space with respect to the idea of "influence" has been devoted to marketing and commerce or to fringe misinformation spaces? How might we create more value to the "middle" of the populace while minimizing misinformation and polarization?

    1. This is a moment that we should seize, in all seriousness, in order to take on the two huge existential plagues that face us this morning: the climate crisis, outlined in this new IPCC report, and the fact that we have a madman with nuclear weapons who’s used the revenues from oil and gas to intimidate and terrify the entire world.

      This is the critical observation - everything is interconnected. It is a nexus of problems that requires that we deal with all dimensions of the problem simultaneously.

      Putin is the nexus of so much that is wrong with the world. He is like an octopus that has its arms in multiple crisis of the planet.

      The political polarization of the US, the ascendancy of the puppet government of Trump and the blatant cognitive dissonance of the extreme right who are impervious to facts is reminiscent of the propaganda imposed upon the Russian people themselves for one reason - it was part of Putin's master plan: https://youtu.be/FxgBuhMBXSA The US population has been split by Putin's information warfare system, the same one he uses on the Russian population.

      The fake news programmed by Russian propaganda about the Ukraine war has worked effectively to mislead the Russian populus: https://youtu.be/kELta9MLOzg The same pattern of psychological manipulation has also had the same impact in the belief system of the typical hardcore Trumpist.

  5. Feb 2022
    1. Polarization, in Physics, is defined as a phenomenon caused due to the wave nature of electromagnetic radiation. Sunlight travels through the vacuum to reach the Earth, which is an example of an electromagnetic wave. These waves are called electromagnetic waves because they form when an electric field that interacts with a magnetic field.

      Polarization

  6. Jan 2022
    1. ReconfigBehSci. (2022, January 9). Just a thought on this and the general vaccine mandate debate. As a behavioural scientist currently stuck in Germany where this is a live debate, it strikes me that the thoughts below address only part of the population: Those not currently vaccinated. But what about ... 1/2 [Tweet]. @SciBeh. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1480213148032450565

  7. Dec 2021
    1. Timothy Caulfield. (2021, December 30). #RobertMalone suspended by #twitter today. Reaction: 1) Great news. He has been spreading harmful #misinformation. (He has NOT contributed to meaningful/constructive scientific debate. His views demonstrably wrong & polarizing.) 2) What took so long? #ScienceUpFirst [Tweet]. @CaulfieldTim. https://twitter.com/CaulfieldTim/status/1476346919890796545

  8. Nov 2021
    1. But what gives anyone the conviction that such a measure is necessary? Or that “keeping students safe” means you must violate due process? It is not the law. Nor, strictly speaking, is it politics. Although some have tried to link this social transformation to President Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anyone who tries to shoehorn these stories into a right-left political framework has to explain why so few of the victims of this shift can be described as “right wing” or conservative. According to one recent poll, 62 percent of Americans, including a majority of self-described moderates and liberals, are afraid to speak their mind about politics. All of those I spoke with are centrist or center-left liberals. Some have unconventional political views, but some have no strong views at all.

      Is cancel culture a right/left political issue? Some have indicated that it is though Anne Applebaum shows that the victims don't show such bias.

      This is worth exploring in more depth to untangle the justice needed from the political debate cesspool and political polarization which seems to be occurring in America.

  9. Oct 2021
    1. For a talk at one conservative Christian college, Dr. Hayhoe – an atmospheric scientist, professor of political science at Texas Tech University, and the chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy – decided to emphasize how caring about climate change is in line with Christian values and, ultimately, is “pro-life” in the fullest sense of that word. Afterward, she says, people “were able to listen, acknowledge it, and think about approaching [climate change] a little differently.”

      We often talk about the same things, share the same values, have the same common human denominators, but couched in different language. It is critical to get to the root of what we have in common in order to establish meaningful dialogue.

  10. Sep 2021
  11. Jul 2021
    1. One of the reasons for this situation is that the very media we have mentioned are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packag­ing of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements-all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics-to make it easy for him to "make up his own mind" with the mini­mum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and "plays back" the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed ac­ceptably without having had to think.

      This is an incredibly important fact. It's gone even further with additional advances in advertising and social media not to mention the slow drip mental programming provided by algorithmic feeds which tend to polarize their readers.

      People simply aren't actively reading their content, comparing, contrasting, or even fact checking it.

      I suspect that this book could use an additional overhaul to cover many of these aspects.

  12. May 2021
  13. Mar 2021
    1. In 2017, Chris Cox, Facebook’s longtime chief product officer, formed a new task force to understand whether maximizing user engagement on Facebook was contributing to political polarization. It found that there was indeed a correlation, and that reducing polarization would mean taking a hit on engagement. In a mid-2018 document reviewed by the Journal, the task force proposed several potential fixes, such as tweaking the recommendation algorithms to suggest a more diverse range of groups for people to join. But it acknowledged that some of the ideas were “antigrowth.” Most of the proposals didn’t move forward, and the task force disbanded. Since then, other employees have corroborated these findings. A former Facebook AI researcher who joined in 2018 says he and his team conducted “study after study” confirming the same basic idea: models that maximize engagement increase polarization. They could easily track how strongly users agreed or disagreed on different issues, what content they liked to engage with, and how their stances changed as a result. Regardless of the issue, the models learned to feed users increasingly extreme viewpoints. “Over time they measurably become more polarized,” he says.
    1. The lone Black delegate to the convention, Isaiah Montgomery, participated in openly suppressing the voting eligibility of most of those Black men, in the hope that this would reduce the terror, intimidation and hostility that white supremacists aimed at Black people.

      This is interesting because Montgomery essentially sacrificed a part of his community and his heritage in the name of peace and compromise without being certain of the results. This makes me consider the present day political climate, particular, the way that neither side is willing to make concessions (especially the people power).

  14. Feb 2021
    1. This is just one study, of course, and these are complicated social realities. I think it is fair to say that our pundits and social critics can no longer make the easy assumption that the web and the blogosphere are echo-chamber amplifiers. But whether or not this study proves to be accurate, one thing is certain. The force that enables these unlikely encounters between people of different persuasions, the force that makes the web a space of serendipity and discovery, is precisely the open, combinatorial, connective nature of the medium. So when we choose to take our text out of that medium, when we keep our words from being copied, linked, indexed, that’s a choice with real civic consequences that are not to be taken lightly.

      These words certainly didn't take into account the focusing factor that social media algorithms based on surveillance capitalism and attention seeking clicks and engagement would inflict in the coming decade.

  15. Jan 2021
  16. Dec 2020
    1. KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) @KFF (2020) RT @KFF @DrewAltman discusses two fundamental policy decisions made by the Trump administration that set the U.S. on the controversial an…

  17. Nov 2020
    1. Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?
    2. political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization, said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more conservative than they have been in more than a century. Their data show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp rightward move of the GOP.
    3. And Mike Lofgren, a veteran Republican congressional staffer, wrote an anguished diatribe last year about why he was ending his career on the Hill after nearly three decades. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,” he wrote on the Truthout Web site.

      An interesting example with some inflamatory rhetoric, but coupled with his resignation which is all he has left...

  18. Oct 2020
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  22. Jun 2020
  23. May 2020
  24. Mar 2020
    1. Political Polarization

      And important: the role media plays in political polarization. On this topic, I've found works from the Pew useful, like "U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided":

      "As the U.S. enters a heated 2020 presidential election year, a new Pew Research Center report finds that Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two nearly inverse news media environments."

      Also useful are works from Data & Society like "Media, Technology, Politics: six new pieces on the networked public sphere"

      "Although many people are anxious to understand how much influence old and new media had over the US presidential election, the reality is that we will never know comprehensively. We can, though, seek to understand how different cultural and technical factors are shaping the contemporary information landscape."

  25. Oct 2019
    1. Liberal and Conservative Representations of the Good Society: A (Social) Structural Topic Modeling Approach

      I chose this article, because it is timely, relevant, easy-to-follow (because it is intuitive), and innovative (using data sources, Twitter, and an innovative method, textual analysis). I hope you enjoy the reading. Please follow my annotations (comments + questions) and respond to the questions I pose. Try to answer them in your own words.

  26. Sep 2018
    1. “The ether is a public medium,” he insisted, “and its use must be for the public benefit.”

      The deregulation of the 90s, consolidating ownership, had consequences. unintended and unanticipated or not.

  27. Feb 2017
    1. Donald Trump’s obvious affection for authoritarians is prompting worried comparisons of our polarized country to the polarized Germany of the 1920s and ’30s. Since I’m known to see in polarization both crisis and opportunity, my friends are asking me these days about Hitler, the worst-case scenario.

      Polarization Can Be Good

  28. Dec 2016
    1. That evidence shows that partisans who score highest on a standard measure of AOT are in fact the most polarized on the reality of human-caused climate change.
  29. Nov 2016
    1. Best piece I’ve seen on last week’s announcements.

      Gruber had linked to Michael Tsai’s roundup of the backlash, calling it “must-read stuff”. In this case, though, Gruber is “throwing his hat in the ring”. And the ring now feels like the site of a burgeoning flamewar. Issue is, here, that the “war” is happening about people who actually enjoy Apple’s products. This isn’t the “religious wars” between Macs and PCs or between Fandroids and Apple fanbois. It’s a whole argument between people who have been purchasing Apple computers and wanted updated ones. A well-known lesson from social psychology is that group polarization deepens divides by encouraging extreme positions. Chuq Von Rospach’s piece contains several comments which could be qualified as “extreme”. And it puts the blame on those who disagree. There are similar pieces on the other side of the equation, surely. Tsai’s roundup should make it possible to identify them. But Gruber has yet to link to them (apart from arguing about specific points like Tim Cook’s quote on the irrelevance of “PCs” and trying to set the record straight on Apple and Intel sharing responsibility for the 16GB limits on new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro desktop replacements).

      As an example of the effect of group polarization: my own perspective is that disappointment is real. Wasn’t impressed by what transpired from last week’s announcement. Feeling a bit more excited about the Microsoft Surface Studio than about the Touch Bar, but will likely not buy either any time soon. Because polarization forces me to take sides, my vote would go for the “there’s a serious problem, here”. Not saying Apple is doomed or that each of the problems discussed is a tragedy. But, to me, what is being thrown around sounds quite reasonable, not “trivial and petty”. Can’t be on Von Rospach’s side if that’s where the line is drawn. “You’re either with us or against us.” If you force me to choose, well, bye bye!