In this episode we discuss several seemingly good ideas that are actually quite dangerous. We start with a look at how the immune system can teach us about the vital importance of being “anti-fragile.” We look at lessons from ancient cultural traditions all the way up to modern psychology research to peel back the layers of our current social dialogue and look at many notions that have permeated our current thinking. What are the best ways to promote growth and development? How can we help heal people who have suffered from trauma? How can we create a framework that allows for our society to seek the truth and solve our toughest challenges? We take a hard look at the answers to these questions and much more with our guest Dr. Jonathan Haidt.
Dr. Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is the author of multiple books including most recently The Coddling of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. He is also the author of over 90 academic articles and his work has been featured across the globe.What can the immune system teach us about vital importance of anti-fragility?The reason peanut allergies are rising is because America started protecting kids from peanuts in the early 90sKids need to get sick and be exposed to dirt and germs so that they can be healthier - that’s the cornerstone of the immune systemComfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort - we must be uncomfortable to growOur extreme culture of overprotection has really harmed childrenYou don’t grow in a threatening world - you hunker down and get defensiveChildren need to be in the zone of exploration and excitementWhat happens when students themselves ask for protection from ideas and think that ideas will traumatize them?A desire to protect those who are emotionally fragile is wrong - exposure is how you solve fear and emotional fragilityIf the goal is actually to help people - the entire culture of safetyism - that people are fragile and need to be protected - is directly opposed to the scientific research around what actually helps peopleAre the phenomena of Safe space, trigger warnings, micro aggressions and the morality of “safetyism” that arose in the last few years healthy for individuals and society?If you goal is healing trauma and helping people improve - embracing discomfort is the best solutionIf your goal is to seek truth - then you must expose yourself to ideas you disagree with and have others challenge your ideas as well If you goal is ideological victory then you try to silence your opponents ideas If people don’t share ideas because they’re afraid of being attacked - then the entire goal of truth seeking cannot be achieved. Today people are afraid of speaking up and afraid of challenging many ideasThis is a pragmatic argument - its not moral or political - and yet the dialogue today prevents the discussion of truth from even happeningThe “Chicago Principles” for freedom of thinking - an open platform to speak, discuss, and debate ideas - so that you can make your case with evidence and good arguments. If you don’t have diversity of ideas when you’re searching for truth you often come to erroneous conclusions. When we lose viewpoint diversity the science itself is at risk. If you don’t have diversity you’re likely to have bad thinking. Homework: Spread these ideas to others.Homework: Think about the context and system you can to improve and think about how these principles can be appleid to keep healthy debate and productive disagreement