The Atlantic – How to Stop a Civil War – The December 2019 Issue

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With the rapid decline of thoughtful, diverse journalism, The Atlantic’s latest issue is excellent, taking on the current volatile political and cultural climate as a theme. The articles are always at least a few pages long and seem to go a bit under the hood. Many pieces are collaborative ventures with two or more writers. This brings a depth that you would not get with a single voice.

Below are some quotes from “The Dark Psychology of Social Networks.” by Jonathan Haidt,
Tobias Rose-Stockwell


From The Decline of Wisdom from The Dark Psychology of Social Networks – The Atlantic

In 1790, the Anglo-Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke wrote, “We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.” Thanks to social media, we are embarking on a global experiment that will test whether Burke’s fear is valid. Social media pushes people of all ages toward a focus on the scandal, joke, or conflict of the day, but the effect may be particularly profound for younger generations, who have had less opportunity to acquire older ideas and information before plugging themselves into the social-media stream.


Our cultural ancestors were probably no wiser than us, on average, but the ideas we inherit from them have undergone a filtration process. We mostly learn of ideas that a succession of generations thought were worth passing on. That doesn’t mean these ideas are always right, but it does mean that they are more likely to be valuable, in the long run, than most content generated within the past month. Even though they have unprecedented access to all that has ever been written and digitized, members of Gen Z (those born after 1995 or so) may find themselves less familiar with the accumulated wisdom of humanity than any recent generation, and therefore more prone to embrace ideas that bring social prestige within their immediate network yet are ultimately misguided.

From The Decline of Wisdom from The Dark Psychology of Social Networks – The Atlantic

The polar icecaps are melting, the world is now run by reality TV stars,  Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook peddle lies, Jeff Bezos is the “borg” and now wisdom is in sad shape. Keep positive.