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The Righteous Mind

Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Jonathan Haidt

2020  is an odd year when people might feel like they are balancing on the  edge of frantic chaos, isn’t it? I doubt if I would have ever felt so if  I had stayed far away from the hectic revolution of the American  presidential election and the global pandemic (my motherland, Vietnam,  is still doing comparatively well in fighting COVID-19). It is  undeniable that in places, people are always busy running on their  never-ending treadmill of work, money, and food, not bothering noises  faraway. I, however, care.

I did not feel the same, definitely  in a way that 2020 has shown loud and clear our inclination to run down  the lane of divisiveness. Our civilization flourished partly thanks to  the healthy clashes of different forces coming in together, making  improvements, and fostering mutual understanding, yet violence resulted  from increasing intolerance of differences is pernicious.

Since  the time I read Think Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, I was not able  to picture how much of an impact that System 1 (the automatic response)  undermines aspects of our politics and beliefs. In The Righteous Mind,  an alternative image of an elephant (System 1) and a rider (System 2) is  more approachable and lively that it rang the bell within me. The calm  rider can hardly influence the hotheaded elephant!! Reading this book is  like learning to acknowledge the undeniable power of the elephant, and  by acknowledging it, I believe we can behave appropriately with a cool  head.

Another exciting part of this book is an introduction to  the field of moral psychology and particularly six moral pillars about  which we unconsciously care dearly but know little. What can boost your  dopamine more effectively than a series of the-trolley-problem-like  situational questions that challenge your morality? I was excited to  watch those concepts decoded and brought to light. Acknowledging in  actions forces that shape my values is just satisfying.

I think this book is highly relatable if you feel like you need an answer to frustrations in politics and religions this year.

Winter 2020

November 21, 2020 at 3:00:00 PM


socialscience, politics


The Righteous Mind
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