The Righteous Mind
Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
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.
November 21, 2020 at 3:00:00 PM
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