Dennett’s new book “Intuition pumps” contains many useful tips for improving our thinking, including using Rapoport’s rules as the “best antidote for the tendency to caricature one’s opponent”.
Giving up on some of the comfortable fictions that come bundled with religion – like the idea of an afterlife – does not mean that we have to give up on commemorating the lives of those we’ve lost, or that we’re inconsistent in wishing that something like an afterlife did exist.
Nobody expects more from de Botton than vaguely inspirational “deep thoughts”, so it’s entirely possible that part of my annoyance is mere jealousy at how he’s cornered the atheist version of the Deepak Chopra market.
Events like The Gathering 2.0, held last week, are reminders of the importance of setting aside differences where possible – especially when those differences get in the way of seeing how much we have in common.
The attack on moviegoers at a Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado might have little or nothing to do with the potential motives being bandied about by armchair psychologists, but instead offer an indication that we can’t be complacent about how popular modern-day religions like rights, freedom and democracy actually are.
Many opinion columns and pieces of (ostensible) analysis add little value to their reader’s lives, and those of us who produce these should hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Being agnostic on a topic doesn’t mean you need to commit to having no opinion at all. But whether you have an opinion or not, it’s important to allow for the possibility that you might be wrong.
Allowing for reader feedback tends towards democratising opinion, and perhaps shifts responsibility for figuring out what’s worthwhile to read away from the reader herself – but it also provides for a useful corrective. Do current models for reader feedback do the job most efficiently?
It will be interesting to track the success (or lack thereof) of this idea: stickK.com: On stickK, you draw up an official commitment contract that binds you to achieving a personal goal, be it big…