Steven Pinker explains the cognitive biases we all suffer from and how they can short-circuit rational thinking and lead us into believing stupid things. Skip to 12:15 to bypass the preamble.

  • IninewCrow
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    1 month ago

    It’s partly just human nature. I’m a guilty of it and you are probably just as susceptible as anyone else.

    It’s easy to empathize for someone who needs help right in front of you. Most people would probably help a starving African who was dying of thirst and hunger right in front of them. Most people would give a dollar or two to some poor kid that asked for help in the slums of India if they were right there.

    But if you turn it into a casual conversation where the people involved are not in your immediate area, it’s a lot easier to dismiss, disregard, ignore and simplify the arguments about what should or shouldn’t be done.

    It’s a lot easier to be unsympathetic if the person or people you are talking about are in some far off place that might as well not exist to you.

    Multiply that logic about a billion times and everyone the world over has little to no care about any other individual on the other side of the planet … regardless of how intelligent they are.

    • streetlights@lemmy.worldOP
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      1 month ago

      Perhaps it’s the ability to abstract ‘empathy’ into a hypothetical or scenario that is non-local. For example, I’ve known anti-abortionists who were proud members of the movement until they themselves needed an abortion, and then suddenly, their entire philosophy of life does a one-eighty. Were they unable to imagine what it was like until they were in the middle of it?

      Is there a component of intelligence in being able to imagine yourself in situation you aren’t currently in and thus reason how you should treat someone else who is in that predicament?

      • IninewCrow
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        1 month ago

        Most people I find (and I’m often a victim of it myself) are selfish and isolated.

        Most people see the world and the universe as a place that exists for them … they have a hard time accepting that they are just a small part of the universe. To think of yourself so humbly accepts the fact that you don’t matter that much to the universe and most people don’t like that idea.

        It’s that while modern philosophy of individualism and that you are the creator and manager of your own world.

          • IninewCrow
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            1 month ago

            Time … and I don’t mean waiting a few years for some grand revolutionary way of thinking.

            I mean evolutionary time scales of hundreds or even thousands of years for our species to evolve away from our cave man prehistoric mentalities.

            When you graph out the age of our current species, we are closer to our prehistoric ancestors than we like to think. We are still a developing species that is built more for survival and aggression than as a modern technologically advanced society.

            I have an old friend of mine who puts it more simply as “we are just monkeys driving cars”

            The answer is time … a lot of time … for us to grow out of our old mentalities. Hopefully we can have that time.