Thinker Thoughts: Ethical Principles

Our Thinker Thoughts continue with an excerpt from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (July 6, 2017) entitled: “How to Be a Buddhist in Today’s World“, by The Dalai Lama.
Give it a think and let us know your Thinker Thoughts!:

Today the world faces a crisis related to a lack of respect for spiritual principles and ethical values. Such values cannot be forced on society by legislation or by science, nor can fear inspire ethical conduct. Rather, people must have conviction in the worth of ethical principles so that they want to live ethically

Religious values such as kindness, generosity and honesty get lost in the rush to make more money and have more and ‘better’ possessions. Many people’s minds are confused about what happiness is and how to create its causes.”

Keep thinking with our previous Thinker Thoughts on:
social media behavior
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!

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!

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:

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ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: “Homo Prospectus”

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 a May 19, 2017 op-ed in The New York Times, “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment“, written by Martin E.P. Seligman – professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania – and John Tierney, who writes the Findings science column for The New York Times:

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ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: Names & Identities

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 article in The Atlantic (May 5, 2017), “All the Other Julie Becks and Me: What a quest for my namesake taught me about the meaning of names in the internet age“:

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Thinker Thoughts: “Lifelong Learners”

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, “Owning Your Own Future” (May 10, 2017), written by Thomas L. Friedman:

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ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: “Star Sanctuaries”

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 an article in the May 2017 issue of Discover Magazine, “Protecting America’s Last Dark Skies” (not available online), written by Eric Betz:

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Bob Dylan: Through His Life and Ours, A Poet for the Ages

“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”
bob dylan nobel prize
Photo credit: back cover of my college book, “Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan”, 1973

It has been quite a journey through the month of April with Bob Dylan. It was my desire to do a little piece on him as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of National Poetry Month, and so I retrieved all things Bob Dylan – books, CDs, albums, magazine articles, etc. – and started digging in. And now, many days later, I am still going strong, ever more moved and ever more amazed by his body of work, his art, and his genius.

Dylan is a modern day Shakespeare, as Neil McCormick expresses so well in his article for The Telegraph (Oct. 13, 2016):

“He is our greatest living poetic voice, the Bard of the Age, our rock and roll Shakespeare….[t]he Nobel committee say they are honoring Dylan ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’ but he did way more than that. Dylan utterly exploded the form, enabling the simple song to become a vehicle for every shade and nuance of human thought and expression, unleashing incredible forces of creativity on this ancient sturdy folk medium – and did it with a flowing electrifying word smithery and innate, almost mystical wisdom that has created a body of mind-blowing work that will resonate for centuries to come.” Read more

ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: Man vs. Machine

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 an article in the April 2017 issue of Vanity Fair entitled, “Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse“, written by Maureen Dowd.
While it’s an article that should be read in its entirety for a greater understanding of the opposing views on A.I., we’ve selected two quotes below to spur some thinking:

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