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In 2019, Steven Pinker still says the world is doing better than you think



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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Yet, for many scenes from last year, including the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the bombing of a Yemeni school bus and the alarming threat of Twitter Exchanges between nuclear-armed North Korea and the nuclear-armed United States All this seemed to accentuate growing violence and instability, and 2019 had been characterized by terrorist attacks, controversial elections and fallen aircraft.

On the assumption that his earthly data is valid, he asked we Pinker, why "progress" is missing and why, although for most of us it looks like the end of the world, as we know it, Steven Pinker feels comfortable 19659008] Scared Woman "title =" Scared Woman "class =" Lazyimage Lazyoad "data-src =" https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/scared-woman-royalty-free-illustration- 481945981-1550955222.jpg? crop = 1xw: 1xh; center, top & resize = 480: * "/>

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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.

We are prepared for negativity Destruction.

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).

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Even ] with garbage cans, Europe is no more dangerous: although the continent has committed several deadly attacks in the last decade, there are the terrorist incidents in Western Europe (both in terms of incidence and lethality) have been declining since the 1970s and 1980s – an era in which nearly ten attacks took place every week, many by the IRA. (Even then, garbage cans were up to the beginning

In general, our personal hazard calculation has more to do with instinct and optics than reason and logic, Pinker notes. Someone [19659021] intended us ha rm worries more than something that humming and not It can be difficult to pinpoint hazards precisely and so can "progress."

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			<span class= Paul Gilligan Getty Images [19659011] 2) Because progress marches unnoticed

To understand what Pinker means by" progress ", it is useful to imagine a thought experiment used by the American political philosopher John Rawls Rawls' test has to do with the introduction of a law, but there is a helpful sci-fi alternative involving time travels and spontaneous babies It's like this: You're entering a time machine that spits you out as a random newborn in a random place at a certain moment in human history You will be – your social status, your class, your race, your intelligence and your nationality You just have to meet is the year.

Pinker says you should choose this year, or at least a year near the present; The better the chances are of a cheap birth lottery. So: progress.

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Global Well-being, 1820-2015The Composite Score summarizes several key figures, including longevity, income, education, height (a health indicator), homicides, income inequality, democracy and biodiversity Sources: Historical Index of Human Development: Prados de La Escosura 2015, 0-1 scale, available at Our World In Data, Roser 2016h. [19459025Well-BeingComposite: Rijpma 2014 , P.259, Standard Deviation Scale over Land Decades

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The problem, says Pinker, is that we are unable to conceive this progress. We notice accidents like curved garbage bags: when they smell, they do not After being collected slowly, since we are also hardwired for nostalgia, Pinker says, we are likely to suspect things were better before, even if the garbage is worse A decades-long decline in violent crime passes when you see everything in the daily news that is stinking evidence of violence and crime.

For this reason, Pinker's progressive grip in the news media remains, he says, for much of our negativity theories. News tends to conspire with another cognitive failure termed "availability error". We believe what we see most often, what is available. Since news often bleeds, we often think of the world as a constantly gaping wound. Pinker suggests data that suggests that wounds are constantly healing, not stretching.

The problem is, of course, that "progress" is not just about violence and crime. Pinker also needs to answer the modernist challenge that has made the recent luxury, while making our lives easier and longer, more timid and depressed. In other words, if you type "2018" into the time machine, you will actually grow up

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3) Because our neighbors are happier than we think

Pinker says that most of us underestimate the number of lucky Americans by about 40 percent For our compatriots we do, as we obviously do not live in Understand their assumptions based on the visible of us, Pinker says, as these are visible, those in the news suffer the general image of it

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Sound of reporting, 1945-2010

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Stupid enough to think of ourselves as part of a great Malaises, a" crisis of loneliness or of the I ask Pinker if this assessment is an advantage, he says, although he has admitted a slight decline in US lucky numbers (the world has gone up) and suicide rates (the world has gone down), but none of the two metrics, says Pinker It justifies the point of American happiness was quite high, he notes, and according to him, mental illness rates (including depression and anxiety) have generally been flat over the past 25 years, says Pinker.

As far as suicide rates in the US are concerned, Pinker admitted in the last ten years, but according to him, there was an increase to an all-time low and does not indicate to the world as a whole.

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Suicide, England, Switzerland and USA, 1860-2014 Sources: England (including whales) : Thomas & Gunnell 2010, fig. 1, averages for men and women, provided by Kylie Thomas, as the data does not match the current records. Switzerland, 1880-1959: Ajdacic-Gross et al., 2006 fig 1. Switzerland , 1960-2013: WHO Mortality Database, OECD USA, 1900-1998: Centers for Disease Control, Carter et al 2000, Table Ab950. USA, 1999-2014: Centers for Disease Control 2015.

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Pinker still finds the US data worrying and talks about a weaker safety net – too many of us fall through the health crisis, especially in rural areas with low education and white men middle-aged, says Pinker.

Pink he says, however, that we should use caution when describing data trends as "crises" or "epidemics," as this kind of alarming news has a negative impact on our psychology and adds unnecessary worries to our own staff. Worries: Negative news does not convey just a distorted world view, but also make us unhappy time travelers, who are accepted by time travelers.

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4) Because ignorance is not luck

Part of Pinker's" optimism "then involves the use of It means remembering that trash can or no, visiting Western Europe is something you should do, not something dangerous that you should avoid, it takes conscious effort to get things done Worries that are worth worrying about.

Optimism means being aware of the things that are worth worrying about.

Pinker tells me that since his research, he has been one of his few He is now more positive about the possibility of change, he donates more to charity, he is more interested in politics, less dull. "As a cognitive psychologist, I have always tried to get the gr He knows that there are risks to health and safety, "he says. "So I train. I try to maintain a healthy, healthy lifestyle and know that heart disease and strokes are much bigger killers than terrorism and crime. I wear a safety belt. I take statins. I look at the objectively biggest threats. "

Pinker is not dismissive of things like terrorism or violent crime; he just thinks that the attention given to some of these problems may not be appropriate to the threat. Despite the characteristics of star-eyed optimism, Pinker is worried, mainly because of opioid overdoses (a real "criss," says Pinker), nuclear weapons exchange, and climate change – as these pose either a high risk probability or both.

Nevertheless, Pinker does not let himself be led by these things to apathy or pessimism. That's because what Pinker really means by "progressivism" comes a little closer, as the physicist David Deutsch understands "optimism" – that all mistakes and all evils are due to inadequate knowledge. Luck has this knowledge. And without looking into his brain, Pinker seems, at least visibly, to be quite blissful.


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