ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: Social Media vs. Ourselves

We’re continuing our Thinker Thoughts this week with an article in Vanity Fair (June 12, 2017) entitled: “Is Social Media on the Table in 2020?” by Nick Bolton.
While it’s an article that should be read in its entirety, we’ve highlighted some of the most noteworthy thoughts:

We now live in a system that is designed to reward atrocious behavior…[a]fter the Manchester bombing, while parents and families were trying to desperately find their missing children, some used Twitter to share random photos of people they pulled off the Internet, proclaiming they were ‘missing.’ These misleading images were retweeted tens of thousands of times. Why? Simply because the users wanted to increase their followings…[s]ocial media is fast becoming a giant talent show for hundreds of millions of people to see who can be a bigger asshole

Even some technology C.E.O.s are sounding the alarms…’Most of the time [technology] is a force for good,’ [Apple’s CEO Tim] Cook told the M.I.T. graduates. ‘And yet the potential adverse consequences are spreading faster and cutting deeper than ever before. Threats to our security. Threats to our privacy. Fake news, and social media that sometimes becomes anti-social.’ He noted that people are thinking and acting more like computers, without values, compassion or concern for others. ‘Sometimes,’ he continued, ‘the very technology that is meant to connect us, divides us.’

After the end of World War II, historians and politicians forcefully scrutinized the Nazi regime in the hopes of preventing a force like Hitler from ever emerging again. But they also focused on a deeper, underlying question: how did we let this happen in the first place?…[m]aybe it will be a decade from now, or maybe 50 years, but I’m almost certain that historians will one day posit the same question about the rise of the Internet and social media. And they may wonder why we didn’t collectively stop to wonder if this new invention, and the way we were using it, was going to advance the human race

The systems we have created, it seems, are moving too fast, and yet it seems like there are two solutions to fix this. The first is technological….[t]he second solution is that we, the people who use these platforms, should try ourselves to slow down and take a deep breath before we spread something online, asking ourselves if it’s real or fake. That we should wait before we reply to a divisive post on social media, and realize that it’s highly unlikely that our viewpoint is going to change anyone else’s if we don’t respond in a kind and compassionate way. And that, most of all, in the same way it’s not your cell phone’s fault when you send a typo in a text message too quickly before reading it, that we should slow down online. If we don’t, the ramifications could be disastrous.”

Keep thinking with our previous Thinker Thoughts on:
likability vs. status
civil discourse
homo prospectus
names and identities
lifelong learners
star sanctuaries
artificial intelligence
the intellectual life
learning from early humans
and the importance of generosity of spirit
“Thinker Thoughts” is an initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence. Every Friday, we’re posting our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!

Seven Summer Salads

Seven Summer Salads
“You need to have the soul of a rabbit to eat lettuce as it is usually served – green leaves slightly lubricated with oil and flavored with vinegar. A salad is only a background; it needs embroidering.” –Paul Roboux (taken from M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating)

Just as dreamy summer days are a background for endless possibilities of outdoor entertainment, summer salads are a background for endless possibilities of gastronomic entertainment.

Below are seven different recipes for your summer salads, one for each day of the week (note: we’ve included three different versions of the Nicoise Salad at the end). Happy Summer! Read more

Pleasure in the Vineyard

Pleasure in the Vineyard
“The most beautiful gift of nature is that it gives one pleasure to look around and try to comprehend what we see.” –Albert Einstein

Invited for a weekend getaway, I was recently a guest at a relative’s home in Virginia that sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains* and is a stone’s throw from one of Virginia’s 250+ wineries.

Having driven through Virginia more times than I can remember – always heading somewhere else and with little time to comprehend where I was or what was around me – my visit turned out to be a most pleasant gift, reminding me of the restorative power of nature’s beauty. Read more

ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: Likability vs. Status

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, an initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence.
Every Friday, we’re posting our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
 This week’s Thinker Thoughts comes from The New York Times op-ed (June 1, 2017), “Popular People Live Longer” by Mitch Prinstein:

…there is more than one type of popularity, and most of us may be investing in the wrong kind. Likability reflects kindness, benevolent leadership and selfless, prosocial behavior. Research suggests that this form of popularity offers lifelong advantages, and leads to relationships that confer the greatest health benefits.

Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.

…Research suggests that despite the great temptations to gain status, those who achieve it ultimately experience greater unhappiness and dissatisfaction, while those who are likable have far greater satisfaction and success.”

Keep thinking with our previous Thinker Thoughts on:
civil discourse
homo prospectus
names and identities in the internet age
lifelong learners
star sanctuaries
artificial intelligence
the intellectual life
learning from early humans
and the importance of generosity of spirit

ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: “Civil Discourse”

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, an initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence.
Every Friday, we’re posting our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
This week’s Thinker Thoughts comes from the piece in the Wall Street Journal (May 30, 2017): “Civil Discourse in Decline: Where Does It End?” (available online with subscription only) by Gerald F. Seib:

Read more