Reply to Why Trump? by George Lakoff

Why Trump? by George Lakoff (George Lakoff)
Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Democrats have little understanding of why he is winning — and winning handily, and even...

I appreciate the logic you’ve laid out on multiple levels here. I wish it were more widely viewed and shared. There’s an additional linguistic trick which Trump seems to take heavy advantage of as well: doublespeak. I’ve laid out some of the details here: http://boffosocko.com/2016/09/30/complexity-isnt-a-vice-10-word-answers-and-doubletalk-in-election-2016/ though I’ve got a slightly more nuanced approach now a year on and with additional data.

I enjoy your take on Direct vs. Systemic Causation which I bundle a bit more simply under the concept of “complexity”. The example I provide certainly fits well into your argument. It also seems to explain the political divide, which also follows the same party lines, in the ways the country views science in general, but the ideas of climate change and evolution specifically. While the evolution portion may be in direct conflict with the religious right, it doesn’t explain why so many don’t believe in the sciences generally or why they would be climate change deniers. Direct causation would seem to supersede the simple religion argument and explain the backlash against the sciences in general.

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👓 Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls | New York Times

Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls (New York Times)
Stereotypically macho messages limit children’s understanding of what it means to be a father, a man and a boy, as well.
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🎧 Flip the Script | Invisibilia (NPR)

Wow! Just wow! This concept is certainly worth thinking about in greater depth.

I loved the story of police and harassment; it is particularly interesting given the possible changes we could make in the world using these techniques. It shows what some kindness and consideration can do to reshape the world.

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Ben Carson Just Got a Whole Lot Wrong About the Brain | Wired

Ben Carson Just Got a Whole Lot Wrong About the Brain (Wired)
TODAY, IN HIS first speech to his staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly minted Secretary Ben Carson delivered an extemporaneous disquisition on the unparalleled marvel that is the human brain and memory. “There is nothing in this universe that even begins to compare with the human brain and what it is capable of,” he began. “Billions and billions of neurons, hundreds of billions of interconnections.” It was a tangent in a speech about how in America, anything is possible.

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🔖 Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade (Simon & Schuster, September 6, 2016)
The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.

What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.”

His first solo work in over thirty years, Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion draws on his extensive experience as the most cited social psychologist of our time and explains the techniques a person should implement to become a master persuader. Altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, says Cialdini—all that’s required is for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action.

From studies on advertising imagery to treating opiate addiction, from the annual letters of Berkshire Hathaway to the annals of history, Cialdini draws on an array of studies and narratives to outline the specific techniques you can use on online marketing campaigns and even effective wartime propaganda. He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”

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How I became a morning person (and why I decided to make the change)

How I became a morning person (and why I decided to make the change) (Time Dorks)
It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the…

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👓 Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds | The New Yorker

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (The New Yorker)
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight.
The vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight. Credit Illustration by Gérard DuBois
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🎧 The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes | Invisibilia (NPR)

The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin from Invisibilia | NPR
We know about the power of clothes to affect how others see us. But does clothing have the power to actually change us on the inside? To boost our intellectual skills or melt our fear? Co-hosts Hanna Rosin and Lulu Miller, along with new contributors, explore the invisible ways clothes can seep into our skin and change us in surprising ways. This hour, stories about a guy who uses sunglasses to fight off bullies, the science of how wearing a doctor's coat can make you smarter, a tailor who may or may not have survived the Holocaust by wearing a Nazi officer's shirt, a family for whom what outfit to wear is a life or death decision, and why shoes may be the root of all human evil. Maybe.

Invisibilia | NPR

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🔖 Want to read: From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition, 496 pages (February 7, 2017))
One of America’s foremost philosophers offers a major new account of the origins of the conscious mind.

How did we come to have minds?

For centuries, this question has intrigued psychologists, physicists, poets, and philosophers, who have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled ability to create, imagine, and explain. Disciples of Darwin have long aspired to explain how consciousness, language, and culture could have appeared through natural selection, blazing promising trails that tend, however, to end in confusion and controversy. Even though our understanding of the inner workings of proteins, neurons, and DNA is deeper than ever before, the matter of how our minds came to be has largely remained a mystery.

That is now changing, says Daniel C. Dennett. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.

In his inimitable style―laced with wit and arresting thought experiments―Dennett explains that a crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. Competition among memes―a form of natural selection―produced thinking tools so well-designed that they gave us the power to design our own memes. The result, a mind that not only perceives and controls but can create and comprehend, was thus largely shaped by the process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone eager to make sense of how the mind works and how it came about.

4 color, 18 black-and-white illustrations

🔖 Want to read: From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett

 

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🎧 The Problem with the Solution | Invisibilia (NPR)

The Problem with the Solution by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin from Invisibilia | NPR
In this episode we find that the solution can be the problem. The hour begins with a charming couple from Utah who stumble across a clever fix to their clogged drain problem one day while they are showering together. For them, the impulse to fix the problem leads to a happy adventure into the world of patenting and manufacturing a new product. From there, the hour takes a turn to explore how this very same impulse to fix a problem — the impulse that has led the human species to invent telephones and bicycles and rocket ships — has surprising consequences when it comes to the problem of mental illness.

A stunning idea, and one that could do well not only for the mentally ill among our friends and families, but some interesting psychology for parenting and expectations of parents for their children.

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🎧 The Personality Myth | Invisibilia (NPR)

The Personality Myth by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin from Invisibilia | NPR
In America personality is often seen as destiny. Whether you're a famous CEO like Steve Jobs or a serial criminal like Hannibal Lecter, most of us think that our position in life has a lot to do with our personality. This episode looks more closely at this belief. We start at a Court House where lines of people who are getting married describe the personality of the person with whom they are to be joined for life. Then travel to a prison in Ohio where a woman has struck up a work relationship with a prisoner who it turns out did something far worse than she imagined. Finally Lulu talks to a scientist to come up with a complete catalogue of all the things about us that actually do stay stable over the course of our lives. They look at everything from cells to memories until ultimately they come up with a list — but it's a really short list.

Not explicitly said, but this episode points out the heavy nurture side of the nature/nurture question in relation to the stability of one’s personality over time. In some sense, you are who those around you expect you to be. This also makes me think I ought to go back to working for a larger company with more people around me.

Yet another great episode, though to me not as intriguing as some of their other prior efforts. Still overall, a stellar podcast series.

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🎧 The New Norm | Invisibilia

The New Norm from Invisibilia | NPR.org
You probably don't even notice them, but social norms determine so much of your behavior - how you dress, talk, eat and even what you allow yourself to feel. These norms are so entrenched we never imagine they can shift. But Alix Spiegel and new co-host, Hanna Rosin, examine two grand social experiments that attempt to do just that: teach McDonald's employees in Russia to smile, and workers on an oil rig how to cry.

This is a fantastic episode that fits right into the heart of their running theme. The psychology of the smile isn’t something one thinks about often, but it has such a profound effect on our daily lives.

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🎧 The Power Of Categories | Invisibilia (NPR)

The Power Of Categories by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin from Invisibilia | NPR
The Power Of Categories examines how categories define us — how, if given a chance, humans will jump into one category or another. People need them, want them. The show looks at what categories provide for us, and you'll hear about a person caught between categories in a way that will surprise you. Plus, a trip to a retirement community designed to help seniors revisit a long-missed category.

The transgender/sexual dysphoria story here is exceedingly interesting because it could potentially have some clues to how those pieces of biology work and what shifts things in one direction or another. How is that spectrum created/defined? A few dozen individuals like that could help provide an answer.

The story about the Indian retirement community in Florida is interesting, but it also raises the (unasked, in the episode at least) question of the detriment it can do to a group of people to be lead by some the oldest members of their community. The Latin words senīlis ‎(“of or pertaining to old age”) and senex ‎(“old”) are the roots of words like senate, senescence, senility, senior, and seniority, and though it’s nice to take care of our elders, the younger generations should take a hard look at the unintended consequences which may stem from this.

In some sense I’m also reminded about Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and why progress in science (and yes, society) is held back by the older generations who are still holding onto outdated models. Though simultaneously, they do provide some useful “brakes” on both velocity of change as well as potential ill effects which could be damaging in short timeframes.

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