marți, 21 februarie 2012

Slavǎ Domnului!

Is the world really getting better?

If you pull back a little bit from the sea of bad news that’s assaulting us these days, what you actually see is a preponderance of trends that are moving in a fantastic direction. Take healthcare: Over the past century, child mortality rates have dropped by 90 percent, while the length of human lifespan has doubled. Or poverty, which has dropped more in the past 50 years than it has in the previous 500.

At a global level, the gap between wealthy nations and poorer nations continues to close. Across the board, we are living longer, wealthier, healthier lives. Certainly, there are still millions of people living in dire, back-breaking poverty, but using almost every quality-of-life metric available — access to goods and services, access to transportation, access to information, access to education, access to life-saving medicines and procedures, means of communication, value of human rights, importance of democratic institutions, durable shelter, available calories, available employment, affordable energy, even affordable beer—our day-to-day experience has improved massively over the past two centuries.

Why aren’t we more aware of these positive trends?
The simple answer is because we’re hard-wired not to notice. As the first order of business for any organism is survival, our brain privileges information that appears to threaten us. As a result, we tend to focus too much on the bad news even as the good news struggles to get through. The media is so saturated with bad news – if it bleeds, it leads – because they’re vying for the amygdala’s attention.

Furthermore, to handle the massive influx of information we process on a moment by moment basis, the brain relies on heuristics. Most of the time these work. Sometimes they fail. When they fail we call them cognitive biases. As it turns out, a lot of our cognitive biases keep us pessimistic as well.

The negativity bias is a tendency to give more weight to negative information and experiences than positive ones. Confirmation bias is our tendency to search for or interpret information in ways that confirms our preconceptions—which might not be so bad on its own, but when you add the media’s focus on negative news, you have a recipe for psychological disaster.

This list goes on. The result is a brain that believes the end is near and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

Sam Harris, Better and Better, An Interview with Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Cititi si restul, sa va mai curatati un pic mintea, mai panicatilor mai...


2 comentarii:

vera spunea...

Quelle bonne idee.
Foarte adecvat.

Turambar spunea...

Da, din cind in cind trebuie sa spunem asta, sa nu cumva sa uitam pe ce lume traim. Ma bucur ca ti-a placut :)