Saturday, September 18, 2021

ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

IDEAS

Conformers Or Weirdos? What We Know About How People Think

"Unlike much of the world today – and most people who have ever lived – Weird people are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, guilt-ridden and analytical in their thinking style. They focus on themselves – their attributes, accomplishments and aspirations – over relationships and roles. When reasoning, Weird people tend to look for abstract categories with which to organise the world. They simplify complex phenomena by breaking them down into discrete elements and assigning properties – whether by imagining types of particles, pathogens or personalities." - BBC

Reconsidering The Benefits Of Hierarchies

"Similar to the related terms of bureaucracy and meritocracy, hierarchy is a concept rife with negative connotations. Common sense might suggest that it is the elimination of hierarchies, from race and gender to those found in our political systems, that should be our common goal. Bell and Wang argue that hierarchies exist everywhere and rather than trying to stamp them out—an impossible task, in any case—we should be examining how they function in terms of efficiency and the greater good." - New Ramble Review

An Analysis Of QAnon By A Game Designer

"When I saw QAnon, I knew exactly what it was and what it was doing. I had seen it before. I had almost built it before. It was gaming’s evil twin. A game that plays people. (cue ominous music)" - Medium

What I Learned About Myself When I Got Amnesia

"We all forget things, of course – who your 6th-grade social studies teacher was or what you had for lunch a month ago are washed away by the river of time. Looking at memory alone (as some of Locke’s early critics did) is much too narrow a way to think about what it is to be psychologically connected to earlier versions of oneself." - Psyche

The Fictional America And How It Powers Fictions No Longer True

"In the extraordinary drama of America, fiction is paramount to preserving systemic structures of imbalance. That’s how it has been for centuries, and that's how Trump supporters would like it to remain. But that kind of fiction has no place in a healthy, stable democracy. It’s a contaminant and a cancer, a barrier to the remaking our country requires and the change ahead. In the America we want to build, we no longer have a need for it." - Wired

We’ve Become Much Nicer At Waging War

We have, in fact, become nicer and less violent as individuals. We may have domesticated ourselves by our choice of mates and by breeding out those who are most violent, or killing those who are most violent among us, like the way wolves have been domesticated into friendly dogs who sit on your lap. We may have become nicer as individuals, but we’ve also become better at organizing and using purposive violence. That’s the paradox. We’ve gotten better at making war even as we’ve become nicer people. - Nautilus

What Does It Actually Mean To Live In The Now?

The singularity of the now might appear to be a deep and profound insight. It’s the springboard for various more practical strategies for achieving enlightenment and self-enhancement. But the claim that it is always now is so trivial that it can’t support any interesting inference, and there are other ways of justifying these same strategies and practices. - Aeon

What If We Put Everyone Into A Giant Multi-Billion City?

The entire population of the earth could live in a giant sustainable city occupying a fraction of the earth's surface, freeing the rest of the world for rewilding and the return of stolen lands, according to a new movie by architect Liam Young. - Dezeen

Is America Turning Out Too Many PhD’s?

The overproduction of Ph.D.s has been an issue for years in the U.S., which has a higher rate of doctorate holders than almost any other rich country. - Bloomberg

How To Use Boredom To Your Benefit

Technology might have moved on, but the role of boredom in motivating change is no different for us in the 21st century. Yet not all change is equal. - Psyche

What The Reality Of Cows Has To Inform Humans

A cow sporting VR goggles is comedic as much as it is tragic. There’s horror, too, in that it may foretell our own alienated futures. After all, how different is our experience? We submit to emotion trackers. We log into biofeedback machines. We sign up for tracking and tracing. We let advertisers’ eyes watch us constantly and mappers store our coordinates. - The New York Times

What Recent Research Reveals About Narcissists

"There’s a difference between everyday selfishness and real narcissism – and there’s a distinction between a normal personality trait and the harmful, rare personality disorder. As the research around narcissism has evolved in recent years, psychologists and psychiatrists have learned more about these differences." - Psyche

In Many Countries, Losing Restaurants Means Losing Community

Diego Salazar, former chair of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, has had a longer quarantine than many people. Sure, he and his wife order takeout - and it tastes great, but "I’d realize I was still missing everything about what once made me love food: the people who create it and the 'sobremesa' — the limitless chat after desserts, the reluctance to leave the table, the delight in shared experience." - The New York Times

It Might Take A Pandemic To Learn To Watch Like A Critic

A parent, working with what she's got - a kid eager to watch, an endless supply of streaming, critical faculties - explains by invoking Ben Brantley: "When we find ourselves isolated, and craving connection, we can find it (for a moment at least) though critical engagement with something wonderful someone has made for us. And thank god for WiFi." - Glasstire

American Television Simply Can’t Deal With Aging And Death

TV execs might say the reason is that audiences don't like to see death (which seems a little odd after the successes of Six Feet Under, but ... sure, network TV). A closer look reveals the driving force: "The real reason there was so little exploration of death in prime-time programming was that advertisers did not want their products associated with it, a connection that still drives some advertisers to pull their ads from news programs covering disasters and mass fatalities." - Baltimore Sun

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