Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:11 am





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why) 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16218
Location: Florida
Thanks: 3511
Thanked: 1335 times in 1054 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)



Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:28 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4436
Location: NC
Thanks: 1898
Thanked: 1964 times in 1470 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
I think this chapter is when Haidt's ideas are really starting to come into focus.

This was a bit of a surprise. Haidt suggests that "worship" of reason is "one of the most long-lived delusions in Western history."

Quote:
It’s the idea that reasoning is our most noble attribute, one that makes us like the gods (for Plato) or that brings us beyond the “delusion” of believing in gods (for the New Atheists).

I believe Ant was making this case for a long time and mostly to deaf ears. I still want to make a counterargument, but not sure how I would put it. :lol:

And then this:

Quote:
. . . each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the position he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.


This is sort of the takeaway in Haidt's other book, The Happiness Hypothesis. Money and fame don't make us happy (although lacking money would be a hindrance). Haidt argues that much of our happiness comes from social relationships, being part of a community. This makes sense from an evolutionary psychology perspective, since we evolved under conditions in which humans lived in small groups.

As such, in the modern world, when we are socially isolated, we are more unhappy and selfish than when we are part of a group. So what does that say about individualistic societies? Have we moved too far along this course? Should we try to become more sociocentric?


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Harry Marks
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:35 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor
Book Discussion Leader

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6439
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1891
Thanked: 2097 times in 1584 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
geo wrote:
I think this chapter is when Haidt's ideas are really starting to come into focus.

And I think the structure of his argument is very logical and clear and builds up as he goes along. He's a good teacher.
Quote:
This was a bit of a surprise. Haidt suggests that "worship" of reason is "one of the most long-lived delusions in Western history."
I believe Ant was making this case for a long time and mostly to deaf ears. I still want to make a counterargument, but not sure how I would put it. :lol:

Blaise Pascal wasn't on board with supreme reason: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart." Religion also typically claims a power beyond reason, which would be faith. Perhaps since science has remade the world, and the method of science is associated with reason, what Haidt says is true. But it's hard for me to completely accept the generalization.

Quote:
And then this:

Quote:
. . . each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the position he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.


This is sort of the takeaway in Haidt's other book, The Happiness Hypothesis. Money and fame don't make us happy (although lacking money would be a hindrance). Haidt argues that much of our happiness comes from social relationships, being part of a community. This makes sense from an evolutionary psychology perspective, since we evolved under conditions in which humans lived in small groups.

As such, in the modern world, when we are socially isolated, we are more unhappy and selfish than when we are part of a group. So what does that say about individualistic societies? Have we moved too far along this course? Should we try to become more sociocentric?

So in this book, he adds to the value of our groupish nature in claiming that not only will we be happier, but our political discourse will become more reasoned only through sitting down with well-intentioned people and hashing out our views. This reminds me of the intent behind Better Angels, which you might have heard of. It's a red-blue reconciliation movement. I read an article about it that confirmed that meetings of reds and blues result in civil discussion. However, there is such significant self-selection (i.e., these are folks willing to come to the table) that the writer wondered if the movement can have a wide effect.

My impression of sociocentric cultures is that homogeneity is needed first. Then, maybe, there can be more consensus on values and norms. Looking at our fractious origins (as Woodard did), I'm not sure we'll ever be like that. It seems we used our Constitution and our e pluribus unum ethos to keep civil agreement intact. Whether that might now be failing us is worrying people more and more.

Can you guess what public figure I was thinking of when I came to this passage"
Quote:
I'm not saying we should all stop reasoning and go with our gut feelings. Gut feelings are sometimes better guides than reasoning for making consumer choices and interpersonal judgments, but they are often disastrous as a basis for public policy, science, and law. Rather, what I'm saying is that we must be wary of any individual's ability to reason.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
geo
Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:18 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Worm


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1401
Thanks: 1534
Thanked: 706 times in 567 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
geo wrote:
Haidt argues that much of our happiness comes from social relationships, being part of a community. This makes sense from an evolutionary psychology perspective, since we evolved under conditions in which humans lived in small groups.

As such, in the modern world, when we are socially isolated, we are more unhappy and selfish than when we are part of a group. So what does that say about individualistic societies? Have we moved too far along this course? Should we try to become more sociocentric?


To me the answer is obviously yes, but I am not very good at actually doing it. My elephant is a loner, and my rider is telling the elephant to quit being such a jerk.

The standard economic analysis (I don't know the sociology) is that humans have gotten more independent by substituting impersonal "exchange" (a high productivity economy, basically) for the former interdependence. We are left with an emotional craving for what we used to get as a side effect of mutual need. What this leaves out is that other people also make us frustrated and often miserable. The natural state of a village or a roving nomadic band is a dominance hierarchy. And to avoid being dominated, we choose independence over interdependence. Aversion to interpersonal dominance is stronger than desire for interpersonal stimulation and harmony.

The way I put this together is in terms of opportunity. Given the skills for negotiating everyday conflict in a non-abrasive way that doesn't rely on dominance and aggression, people can make each other pretty happy. Life is win-win-win if we learn to get past our instincts for win-lose thinking formed by dominance. So we need to cultivate the skills of being sociocentric without the primordial structure on which traditional sociocentric organization rested.

You can read a novelist's intuitive decoding of this in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart".



The following user would like to thank Harry Marks for this post:
DWill, geo
Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:43 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor
Book Discussion Leader

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6439
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1891
Thanked: 2097 times in 1584 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
Harry Marks wrote:
The way I put this together is in terms of opportunity. Given the skills for negotiating everyday conflict in a non-abrasive way that doesn't rely on dominance and aggression, people can make each other pretty happy. Life is win-win-win if we learn to get past our instincts for win-lose thinking formed by dominance. So we need to cultivate the skills of being sociocentric without the primordial structure on which traditional sociocentric organization rested.

You can read a novelist's intuitive decoding of this in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart".

I want to frame the post and hang it on the wall. It captures the yin and yang of our social being. I can understand the attraction of achieving a separate social space to the person who is webbed in by all sorts of prescriptions for behaving. Once that freedom is obtained, the sense of loss may set in. It might be parallel to the Inuit hunter who can't help wanting to adopt technology that gives him better food security, but finds that leads to loss of cultural identity.

I wonder whether complaints about "politics" in our jobs or civic participation are simply about the human interactions inevitable when we organize socially. We're coming out of our cocoons and finding the sharp edges of cooperation annoying. Efforts to "change the culture" within organizations might be motivated by goals of increasing employee happiness through levelling the influence of dominance.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Harry Marks
Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:21 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Worm


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1401
Thanks: 1534
Thanked: 706 times in 567 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
DWill wrote:
I want to frame the post and hang it on the wall. It captures the yin and yang of our social being.
We're coming out of our cocoons and finding the sharp edges of cooperation annoying.

I think I will steal "finding the sharp edges of cooperation annoying." It captures the dilemmas wonderfully well.

I am obsessing on this stuff lately because I am discovering how distorted my students' emotional lives are by what educators call "trauma" which includes a wide range of stressful events from having parents imprisoned for crime or deported to having parents constantly criticizing them and shaming and belittling them. At first I thought the numbers were manageable, like one in 10 had disabling levels of trauma, but now I am thinking it is more like one in four who cannot put together the work habits to do a normal amount of learning because their nervous systems are raw from conflict at home.

On the one hand we have the brave new world of a tech-enabled economy, and on the other we have the skills of cooperation in the headquarters jobs dominating the merely employable with less and less commitment to developing cooperation structures on the job. I don't know how many others have OD'd on hearing scripted replies from sales clerks and customer service departments, obviously dictated by some lawyer doing CYA for the company along with some smooth HR type substituting sticking to a script for actual human interaction, but I am getting to the point where it chills me every time I hear it. A script is not the same as skills. But in a typical large organization an imposed script is easier than hiring, training and trusting people to navigate the bumpy interactions involved in human complexity. So we have the story this week about US Bank firing employees for helping a customer who got the runaround about his ability to use some of his frozen account to pay a critically time-sensitive bill.
www.nbcnews.com › news › us-news › bank-employee-gave-20-custom...

Yes, production involves cooperation, and yes, we are still pretty bad at managing the sharp edges of that process.



The following user would like to thank Harry Marks for this post:
Robert Tulip
Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:21 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor
Book Discussion Leader

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6439
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1891
Thanked: 2097 times in 1584 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
Harry Marks wrote:
I am obsessing on this stuff lately because I am discovering how distorted my students' emotional lives are by what educators call "trauma" which includes a wide range of stressful events from having parents imprisoned for crime or deported to having parents constantly criticizing them and shaming and belittling them. At first I thought the numbers were manageable, like one in 10 had disabling levels of trauma, but now I am thinking it is more like one in four who cannot put together the work habits to do a normal amount of learning because their nervous systems are raw from conflict at home.

I had thought that your previous teaching had been in schools serving mostly families from the upper income levels. Now, apparently conditions are different for you. Not that wealthy parents translate all the time to mentally healthy kids, but that circumstance has to constitute a leg up. I hope you have supportive colleagues and administrators. My teaching experience is scant; I didn't continue with it but have huge respect for teachers. One of the most negative features for me was feelings of isolation, the classroom feeling like a separate box. It seemed that education should have been a more cooperative thing.

We have a friend who is in his early 70s and a brave man. He has just taken over for the remainder of the year the ninth-grade program in Environmental Science at the high school. I don't know what he thinks about trauma effects at this rural school, but he has seen already that his students don't want to study much. Whether such a lack is more the fault of the culture, of the parents, or of the education system itself, no idea, but it's a shame to leave school without having found some independent interest to follow for its own sake. I wasn't even a good student in high school, but I did read a lot off the books, so to speak.



Last edited by DWill on Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Harry Marks, Robert Tulip
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:51 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Worm


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1401
Thanks: 1534
Thanked: 706 times in 567 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
DWill wrote:
I had thought that your previous teaching had been in schools serving mostly families from the upper income levels. Now, apparently conditions are different for you. Not that wealthy parents translate all the time to mentally healthy kids, but that circumstance has to constitute a leg up. I hope you have supportive colleagues and administrators.
Thanks for the supportive words. I have indeed moved from "easy" teaching, where students were selected and usually pretty motivated, to typical American students who, as you say, don't want to study much. We constantly battle the inertia of students who are caught up in social drama, computerized gaming, and ubiquitous entertainment, and the day is past when the stories of history could be imagined to be their main window on a wider world.

I am gradually getting the idea as to how to set things out for this crowd, and the main obstacle is not the inertia but the ease with which they give up when challenged. Since quite a bit of the curriculum is hard for the average student and they see a chunk of the students (mainly those with professional parents) able to absorb it with ease, they easily conclude that the material is too hard for them. Since we are driven onward by curriculum requirements, it is really hard to get those students to re-engage and move themselves back into the mainstream. It was distressing to me how many wrote themselves off even for such basic material as percentage changes and probability calculations. With the ones who cannot seem to respond to direct coaxing by the teacher, trauma seems to be a big part of the story.

DWill wrote:
Whether such a lack is more the fault of the culture, of the parents, or of the education system itself, no idea, but it's a shame to leave school without having found some independent interest to follow for its own sake. I wasn't even a good student in high school, but I did read a lot off the books, so to speak.
Yes, a big part of the success some schools have had with an adapted curriculum involves finding points of engagement and then bringing in the math and the writing skills as a side aspect of learning about what the student cares about. It turns out that is a less affordable model than simply providing kids with a lot of support, involving what we might call a "social worker" to get them to build the inner strength to get over their barriers.

I remain an optimist. I think schools are trying to make a very difficult transition from a system of ability grouping, where success for a limited few was seen as the purpose of the curriculum, to a system of "mastery" in which the main body of students is given material they can manage and lots of small steps to get there. A heavy dose of adaptation of curriculum to realistic career paths is almost certainly going to be part of that, but underrecognized at the current moment. I think it will give us a more enlightened and homogeneous society, but the mastery approach is really difficult for the students and for me in the process of adapting. Giving up seems awfully tempting sometimes.



Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:08 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Worm


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1401
Thanks: 1534
Thanked: 706 times in 567 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Ch. 4: Vote for Me (Here's Why)
geo wrote:
Should we try to become more sociocentric?

This is about as far as I got in the book on first reading it, many years ago. I am trying to pay special attention to this theme, and I will have more comments about it for the next chapter, which I have now finished. But I have to say I am really dissatisfied with Haidt's treatment of it, so far at least. I get that it makes important context for his big message, that most of the world has a wider range of dimensions of moral intuition, but I think he ends up neglecting weighty issues in cultural anthropology to set out this context.

In particular, when he gets to the "Rationalist Delusion", he plays some pretty loaded cards such as suggesting that rationalists think those with a more rational and philosophical approach "should have more power." Well, yes, Plato and Locke have said as much, but they were far from delusional. Those of us who believe in sweet reason need to stay more humble about all the stuff we don't understand, but that does not change the fact that there are more sensible and less sensible ways to be in society. Being open to dimensions of moral intuition which have been neglected by the critical orientation of philosophers is probably a really good idea, but arguing that society should be organized by moral intuition rather than by logically analyzing what is going on is a recipe for insipid populist mismanagement. Can moral intuition give us even a clue about greenhouse gases and global warming? No, and the institutions who claim to be pursuing a restoration of the status of traditional morality (which include Bill Barr, Brett "get the Clintons" Kavanaugh, and Jonathan Haidt himself) turn out on close inspection to be relentlessly pursuing the goals of the moneyed class.

Could it be that the "Rationalist Delusion" is not so much the abstraction from traditional dimensions of moral intuition but rather the effrontery to propose an alternative to raw power in directing the governance process?



Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:26 pm
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2019. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank