Just over a year ago, Harvard professor and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker claimed to double his previous research. After almost every metric of human well-being, the world is getting better – everything from war, violence and poverty (all diminishing) to health, wealth, happiness and equality (all improving).
This claim, the basis for Enlightenment Now has since been perceived by Pinker as a Starry-Eyed Academic Optimist, expressing some historical, statistical and generally pessimistic criticism. However, Pinker insists that his disposition is not really "optimism" but "progressivism" and is not found in the stars but in demonstrable earthly data.
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1) Because the world is not as dangerous as we assumed
If you travel to London, you may notice a bizarre Public bins, football stadiums, stations – trash bins have been consolidated for a long time or have been removed for fear of being used as bomb shells.
This type of preventive action may seem reasonable and it is almost impossible to move among masses now without imagining any form of destruction, but these are exactly the assumptions that Pinker's work questions. "We are prepared for negativity," he tells us, and we expect destruction by mistake.
To understand why, you only need to create two lists: one of all the glorious things that goes along with a typical one Day, and the other from any bad, unpleasant inconvenience. Pinker suspects your last list will be longer. Since these are things that can actually hurt us, it makes sense to match our emotions to the negative, says Pinker. Basically we are prepared for pessimism.
However, this hardwiring leads to a terrible risk calculation.
The likelihood that an American will be killed in a terrorist incident is approximately 1: 3.3 million. However, from all election campaign issues in 2016, a majority of voters on both sides said that "terrorism and national security" are their biggest concern. The list of things more Americans could probably kill, but fills notes and includes everything from a staircase to a swarm of bees. (Bees kill more Americans every year than ISIS, sharks, scorpions, alligators, bears and planes together).