07 October 2009

Some links to optimism

I was cleaning up round the place and found this here blog. Better give it some exercise, I guess.

I had reason to link to a presentation from a TED conference during a debate I had on on morality over at Public Address. It's a good talk by Steven Pinker about the the perception many seem to have that the world is a more violent and brutal place than ever. Pinker mentions the "non-zero sum" theory by Robert Wright, and I have since noticed that this is expanded on by Wright in an earlier TED talk in 2006.

I don't entirely agree with everything Wright proposes, but no doubt there's something to it, and it makes for useful viewing before the Pinker talk from 2007. Pinker argues that (contrary to common views) we have in fact become a lot less violent over the centuries, and we are living in the most peaceful time in our history. He suggests reasons why things have improved and makes some very interesting points about the way we often perceive violence, the media's role in this, and how we should be a lot more positive, in some ways, about what humanity has achieved.

Robert Wright on optimism

Steven Pinker on the myth of violence

TED talks are covered by Creative Commons license.