Author Topic: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker  (Read 5572 times)

Liberty

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2018, 01:39:20 PM »
Just yesterday I listened to an interview with him on Joe Rogan's podcast.  It is episode #1073 from Feb 04, 2018 (podcast, youTube).   The book sounds interesting, I plan on reading it. A long time ago I also planned on reading "The Better Angels of Our Nature", but completely forgot about it until I listened to this interview yesterday.

I suggest 'The Blank Slate' by Pinker, it's a great book.

Thanks.   I'll check that one out too.   He didn't mention his book by that name specifically in the interview, but he did talk a little about his opposition to the theory that humans are born a "blank slate".

That's the one. It's a good overview of the field of evolutionary psychology. Moral Animal by Robert Wright is similar.
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Liberty

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2018, 05:11:19 PM »
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | Interesting podcast on sleep science

Liberty

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Liberty

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 01:38:15 PM »
Pinker on TMF podcast. I haven't listened yet.

https://www.fool.com/podcasts/rule-breaker-investing/2018-03-07-a-better-future-through-interview/

I've now listened to it and it's good, I recommend it. I disagree with him on the Q&A question about AI, but nobody's an expert on everything.
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Jurgis

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 08:44:38 AM »
I have listened to him talk live. It was pretty good talk though very reminiscent and perhaps overlapping with Hans Rosling's presentations. He pretty much showed the graphs of progress in all areas of life through last centuries.
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Cigarbutt

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2018, 04:21:16 PM »
I like Mr. Pinker's work but his optimism is quite monolithic.
Here's a critical look at his most recent book.
"This approach holds a certain appeal for wonks who may hope that today’s problems can be fixed by a set of inspiring TED Talk slides."
https://newrepublic.com/article/147391/hype-best

Maybe the curve of human progress is like the stock market.
It will tend to go up, but there may be intermittent periods of regression.
What is fascinating is that humans always want more and take a lot for granted.
Maybe that's the spirit that has always driven humanity forward?

Hoping for the best.

Liberty

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2018, 06:03:36 PM »
Pinker's argument is that we should return to the ideals of the enlightenment to increase the odds that  progress keeps going, not that it is unavoidable and just happens by itself, afaik.
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flesh

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2018, 11:03:21 AM »
I like Mr. Pinker's work but his optimism is quite monolithic.
Here's a critical look at his most recent book.
"This approach holds a certain appeal for wonks who may hope that today’s problems can be fixed by a set of inspiring TED Talk slides."
https://newrepublic.com/article/147391/hype-best

Maybe the curve of human progress is like the stock market.
It will tend to go up, but there may be intermittent periods of regression.
What is fascinating is that humans always want more and take a lot for granted.
Maybe that's the spirit that has always driven humanity forward?

Hoping for the best.

Not a fan of the article. He's essentially saying, it's better but what if something really bad happened, then it wouldn't be better. Also, people suffering less doesn't address how people feel, people don't feel better. Or, if we end up annihilating ourselves, it's all for naught.

All of the above seems to be the basic human operating system, which is why Pinker writes the books he writes. Outside of nihilistic feelings or potential annihilation, things are getting better. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

If we don't know why we're successful, we won't continue to do what's worked. You won't notice the red flags. We'll self sabotage.

It's surprising to me how difficult it is to have a conversation about how much things are improving.

Cigarbutt

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2018, 11:24:18 AM »
« things are getting better »

I very much agree with that.

The point of the post is that this may not be a straight line and I’m also trying to understand « how difficult it is to have a conversation about how much things are improving. ».

Some help from Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which I highly recommend, when he describes how satisfaction never really reaches expecations because expectations may be an elusive and recalibrating target.

“The most common reaction of the human mind to achievement is not satisfaction, but craving for more.”

https://www.amazon.com/Homo-Deus-Brief-History-Tomorrow/dp/0062464310

rkbabang

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Re: Enlightenment Now - Steven Pinker
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2018, 11:45:41 AM »
“The most common reaction of the human mind to achievement is not satisfaction, but craving for more.”

I agree.  And if this wasn't the case humanity would still be hunting and gathering.  The relentless striving for more is what has gotten us this far.
Look at Jeff Bezos, he's worth over $100B, why does he go to work?  Why doesn't he cash out and live the good life?

My wife and I were just talking about this the other day.  We could probably buy a tiny house someplace with a low cost of living and retire now in our 40's, but we won't, because we want more.  I'm sure I'll work until I either physically or mentally can't.

Humans aren't wired for contentment with what they have, and thank goodness for that.