ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

IDEAS

Why Conspiracy Theories Are So Attractive To So Many

Experts say that the majority of people do not easily fall for falsehoods. But when misinformation offers simple, casual explanations for otherwise random events, “it helps restore a sense of agency and control for many people,” says Sander van der Linden, a social psychologist at the University of Cambridge. - National Geographic

The Wrenching Realities Of Gentrification

Gentrification is one of the most pressing – and polarising – issues confronting cities today. In popular discussions, defenders of gentrification tend to paint it as an influx of badly needed capital into blighted urban areas... Critics view gentrification as a quasi-colonial invasion of the privileged into economically vulnerable communities. - Aeon

Global Culture? It Won’t Really Ever Happen

"Populations across the globe today may devour Starbucks, KFC, and Coca-Cola. They may enjoy Italian opera, French couture, and Persian carpets. But no matter how many exotic influences each absorbs or what foreign connections they make, nations don’t just fade away. They retain their citizens’ fierce devotion." - Nautilus

Needed: A Historic Plan For Rebuilding The Arts In America

The Biden campaign promised that America could “build back better,” and throughout 2020 the president-elect extolled F.D.R.’s New Deal as a blueprint for American renewal. For the administration to show that sort of Rooseveltian resolve — and, with control of the Senate, it just about can — it’s going to have to put millions of Americans on the federal payroll: among them artists, musicians and actors, tasked to restore a battered nation. - The New York Times

What We Need Is Artificial Intelligence That Explains Itself

A computer that masters protein folding and also tells researchers more about the rules of biology is much more useful than a computer that folds proteins without explanation. - The Conversation

The Important Privilege Of Being An Absolute Beginner

"For most of us, the beginner stage is something to be got through as quickly as possible, like a socially awkward skin condition. But even if we’re only passing through, we should pay particular attention to this moment. For once it goes, it’s hard to get back." - The Guardian

The Philosophy Of Wine? But Of Course…

"Not content to simply establish the origins of our belief systems, philosophers focus on the evidence that supports our belief systems and whether we have good reasons to believe what we believe, which requires an inquiry into what exactly counts as a good reason. In other words, philosophers think about thinking and try to develop concepts that help us think more clearly." - 3 Quarks Daily

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

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