Clive Thompson — Coders: The Making of A New Tribe and The Remaking of The World — Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for The Better — Videos

Posted on September 4, 2019. Filed under: American History, Anthropology, Blogroll, Books, College, Congress, Cult, Culture, Data, Economics, Education, Employment, High School, history, Journalism, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, media, Medicine, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Programming, Psychology, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Sociology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Clive Thompson

CLIVE THOMPSON: HOW TECH REMADE THE WORLD

Clive Thompson: Where do Big Ideas Come From?

Smarter Than You Think | Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson’s New Book Smarter Than You Think | Keen On…

Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson | Animated Book Review

Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson Audiobook

Coding Culture

“Learning to Code is Not Just for Coders” | Ali Partovi | TEDxSausalito

TEDx Talks

Published on Dec 1, 2016
COFOUNDER, CODE.ORG, ILIKE, & LINKEXCHANGE “Every child in America deserves access to Computer Science.” Described by the San Jose Mercury News as one of “Silicon Valley’s top angel investors,” Ali Partovi has backed Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Uber, and Zappos. In 2013, Partovi helped his twin brother Hadi launch Code.org, which promotes computer science education and has introduced 200 million kids to computer programming via the “Hour of Code.” Early in his career he cofounded LinkExchange and later iLike.

How I taught myself to code | Litha Soyizwapi | TEDxSoweto

Learn the basics. Learn by doing. Apply Knowledge.

What do programmers actually do?

Programmer: Reality vs Expectations (Computer Programmer) Part 1

Programmer: Reality vs Expectations (Computer Programmer) Part 2

Rags to Microsoft Software Developer – My Life Story

Microsoft laid me off after 15 years of service. My life after Microsoft?

Microsoft ruined MY weekend… MY LAN party & My LIFE! WHY!

Microsoft ruined MY weekend… MY LAN party & My LIFE! WHY!

The Real Story of the Homeless Coder | Mashable Docs

Top 10 Worst Things about Programming

here i listed them all:
10-commute 9-your work doesn’t exist 8-constant changing 7-meetings 6-your company changes 5-visibility office politics 4-sitting at desk all day 3-stress 2-arrogant people 1-bad code/manager

Top 10 Programmer Benefits

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It’s The Culture Stupid | Coder Radio 336

Uncle Bob Martin – The Clean Coder

“Uncle” Bob Martin – “The Future of Programming”

Published on May 18, 2016

How did our industry start, what paths did it take to get to where we are, and where is it going. What big problems did programmers encounter in the past? How were they solved? And how do those solutions impact our future? What mistakes have we made as a profession; and how are we going to correct them. In this talk, Uncle Bob describes the history of software, from it’s beginnings in 1948 up through the current day; and then beyond. By looking at our past trajectory, we try to plot out where our profession is headed, and what challenges we’ll face along the way. Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) has been a programmer since 1970. He is the Master Craftsman at 8th Light inc, an acclaimed speaker at conferences worldwide, and the author of many books including: The Clean Coder, Clean Code, Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices, and UML for Java Programmers.

The Future of Programming – .NET Oxford – April 2019

Published on May 1, 2019

The Future of Programming 2019 Update How did our industry start, what paths did it take to get to where we are, and where is it going. What big problems did programmers encounter in the past? How were they solved? And how do those solutions impact our future? What mistakes have we made as a profession; and how are we going to correct them. In this talk, Uncle Bob describes the history of software, from it’s beginnings in 1948 up through the current day; and then beyond. By looking at our past trajectory, we try to plot out where our profession is headed, and what challenges we’ll face along the way. Robert Martin visited .NET Oxford in the UK, where this talk was recorded. For more information about the .NET Oxford user-group, please visit https://www.meetup.com/dotnetoxford.

Interview With Bob Martin (Uncle Bob)

Artificial Intelligence, the History and Future – with Chris Bishop

A New Philosophy on Artificial Intelligence | Kristian Hammond | TEDxNorthwesternU

Why Is Deep Learning Hot Right Now?

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Tom Lehrer Full Copenhagen Performance

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MIT Self-Driving Cars: State of the Art (2019)

MIT Deep Learning Basics: Introduction and Overview

Published on Jan 11, 2019

An introductory lecture for MIT course 6.S094 on the basics of deep learning including a few key ideas, subfields, and the big picture of why neural networks have inspired and energized an entire new generation of researchers. For more lecture videos on deep learning, reinforcement learning (RL), artificial intelligence (AI & AGI), and podcast conversations, visit our website or follow TensorFlow code tutorials on our GitHub repo.

MIT 6.S094: Introduction to Deep Learning and Self-Driving Cars

Google’s Deep Mind Explained! – Self Learning A.I.

Artificial Intelligence: Mankind’s Last Invention

Top 10 Computer Science Schools in the World

Coders: The Making of a New Art and the Remaking of the World

Clive Thompson. Penguin Press, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2056-0

In this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson (Smarter Than You Think) opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers. Thompson explains how an avowedly meritocratic profession nevertheless tends to sideline those who are not white male graduates of prestigious university computer science programs, tracing this male-dominated culture back to 1960s and early ’70s MIT, where the “hacker ethic” was first born. Remarkably, though, he makes clear that programming is an unusual field in that successful practitioners are often self-taught, many having started out with only simple tools, such as a Commodore computer running the BASIC programming language. This book contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions, since “any ranking system based partly on tallying up the reactions to posts will wind up favoring intense material.” Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2018
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook – 978-0-7352-2057-7
Paperback – 448 pages – 978-0-7352-2058-4

 

 

KIRKUS REVIEW

Of computer technology and its discontents.

Computers can do all kinds of cool things. The reason they can, writes tech journalist Thompson (Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, 2013), is that a coder has gotten to the problem. “Programmers spend their days trying to get computers to do new things,” he writes, “so they’re often very good at understanding the crazy what-ifs that computers make possible.” Some of those things, of course, have proven noxious: Facebook allows you to keep in touch with high school friends but at the expense of spying on your every online movement. Yet they’re kind of comprehensible, since they’re based on language: Coding problems are problems of words and thoughts and not numbers alone. Thompson looks at some of the stalwarts and heroes of the coding world, many of them not well-known—Ruchi Sanghvi, for example, who worked at Facebook and Dropbox before starting a sort of think tank “aimed at convincing members to pick a truly new, weird area to examine.” If you want weird these days, you get into artificial intelligence, of which the author has a qualified view. Humans may be displaced by machines, but the vaunted singularity probably won’t happen anytime soon. Probably. Thompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike: He reckons that BASIC is one of the great inventions of history, being one of the ways “for teenagers to grasp, in such visceral and palpable ways, the fabric of infinity.” Though big tech is in the ascendant, he writes, there’s a growing number of young programmers who are attuned to the ethical issues surrounding what they do, demanding, for instance, that Microsoft not provide software to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Those coders, writes Thompson, are “the one group of people VCs and CEOs cannot afford to entirely ignore,” making them the heroes of the piece in more ways than one.

Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.

About this book

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/clive-thompson/coders/

Book Summary

To understand the world today, we need to understand code and its consequences. With Coders, Thompson gives a definitive look into the heart of the machine.

Hello, world.

Facebook’s algorithms shaping the news. Self-driving cars roaming the streets. Revolution on Twitter and romance on Tinder. We live in a world constructed of code – and coders are the ones who built it for us. From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson comes a brilliant anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers, in a book that interrogates who they are, how they think, what qualifies as greatness in their world, and what should give us pause. They are the most quietly influential people on the planet, and Coders shines a light on their culture.

In pop culture and media, the people who create the code that rules our world are regularly portrayed in hackneyed, simplified terms, as ciphers in hoodies. Thompson goes far deeper, dramatizing the psychology of the invisible architects of the culture, exploring their passions and their values, as well as their messy history. In nuanced portraits, Coders takes us close to some of the great programmers of our time, including the creators of Facebook’s News Feed, Instagram, Google’s cutting-edge AI, and more. Speaking to everyone from revered “10X” elites to neophytes, back-end engineers and front-end designers, Thompson explores the distinctive psychology of this vocation – which combines a love of logic, an obsession with efficiency, the joy of puzzle-solving, and a superhuman tolerance for mind-bending frustration.

Along the way, Coders thoughtfully ponders the morality and politics of code, including its implications for civic life and the economy. Programmers shape our everyday behavior: When they make something easy to do, we do more of it. When they make it hard or impossible, we do less of it. Thompson wrestles with the major controversies of our era, from the “disruption” fetish of Silicon Valley to the struggle for inclusion by marginalized groups.

In his accessible, erudite style, Thompson unpacks the surprising history of the field, beginning with the first coders – brilliant and pioneering women, who, despite crafting some of the earliest personal computers and programming languages, were later written out of history. Coders introduces modern crypto-hackers fighting for your privacy, AI engineers building eerie new forms of machine cognition, teenage girls losing sleep at 24/7 hackathons, and unemployed Kentucky coal-miners learning a new career.

At the same time, the book deftly illustrates how programming has become a marvelous new art form – a source of delight and creativity, not merely danger. To get as close to his subject as possible, Thompson picks up the thread of his own long-abandoned coding skills as he reckons, in his signature, highly personal style, with what superb programming looks like.

https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/13867/coders

Praise

“Fascinating. Thompson is an excellent writer and his subjects are themselves gripping. . . . [W]hat Thompson does differently is to get really close to the people he writes about: it’s the narrative equivalent of Technicolor, 3D and the microscope. . . . People who interact with coders routinely, as colleagues, friends or family, could benefit tremendously from these insights.” —Nature

“With an anthropologist’s eye, [Thompson] outlines [coders’] different personality traits, their history and cultural touchstones. He explores how they live, what motivates them and what they fight about. By breaking down what the actual world of coding looks like . . . he removes the mystery and brings it into the legible world for the rest of us to debate. Human beings and their foibles are the reason the internet is how it is—for better and often, as this book shows, for worse.” —TheNew York Times Book Review

“An outstanding author and long-form journalist. . . . I particularly enjoyed [Thompson’s] section on automation.” —Tim Ferriss

“[An] enjoyable primer on the world of computer programmers. . . . Coders are building the infrastructure on which twenty-first century society rests, and their work has every chance of surviving as long, and being as important, as the Brooklyn Bridge—or, for that matter, the Constitution.” —Bookforum

“Thompson delivers again with this well-written narrative on coders, individual histories, and the culture of coder life, at home and work. . . . In addition to analyzing the work-life of coders, he brilliantly reveals several examples of how they live in their respective relationships. Throughout, Thompson also does a great job exploring the various drivers that permeate the industry: merit, openness of code, long coding stints without sleep, and how the culture tends toward start-up culture even when companies are established. This engaging work will appeal to readers who wish to learn more about the intersection of technology and culture, and the space in which they blur together.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Thompson offers a broad cultural view of the world of coders and programmers from the field’s origins in the mid-twentieth century to the present. In this highly readable and entertaining narrative, he notes the sense of scale and logical efficiency in coding and the enthusiasm with which programmers go about creating new features and finding bugs. . . . [A] comprehensive look at the people behind the digital systems now essential to everyday life.”—Booklist

“Looks at some of the stalwarts and heroes of the coding world, many of them not well-known. . . . Thompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike. . . . Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier, et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.” —Kirkus

“In this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers. . . . [Coders] contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions. . . . Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“As a person who has spent a lot of time writing code, I can confirm that you need to be a little bit of a weirdo to love it. Clive Thompson’s book is an essential field guide to the eccentric breed of architects who are building the algorithms that shape our future, and the AIs who will eventually rise up and enslave us. Good luck, humans!” —Jonathan Coulton, musician

“Clive Thompson is more than a gifted reporter and writer. He is a brilliant social anthropologist. And, in this masterful book, he illuminates both the fascinating coders and the bewildering technological forces that are transforming the world in which we live.” —David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon

“With his trademark clarity and insight, Clive Thompson gives us an unparalleled vista into the mind-set and culture of programmers, the often-invisible architects and legislators of the digital age.”  —Steven Johnson, author of How We Got to Now

“If you have to work with programmers, it’s essential to understand that programming has a culture. This book will help you understand what programmers do, how they do it, and why. It decodes the culture of code.” —Kevin Kelly, senior maverick for Wired

“Clive Thompson is the ideal guide to who coders are, what they do, and how they wound up taking over the world. For a book this important, inspiring, and scary, it’s sinfully fun to read.” —Steven Levy, author of In the Plex

“It’s a delight to follow Clive Thompson’s roving, rollicking mind anywhere. When that ‘anywhere’ is the realm of the programmers, the pleasure takes on extra ballast. Coders is an engrossing, deeply clued-in ethnography, and it’s also a book about power, a new kind: where it comes from, how it feels to wield it, who gets to try—and how all that is changing.”  —Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

“Clive Thompson has deftly picked apart the myth of a tech meritocracy. Guiding readers through the undercovered history of programming’s female roots, Coders points with assurance to the inequities that have come to define coding today, as both a profession and the basis of the technology that shapes our lives. Readable, revealing, and in many ways infuriating.”  —Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad

“Code shapes coders, and coders shape the code that changes how we think, every day of our lives. If you want to create a more humanistic digital world, read this book to get started.” —Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT; author of Reclaiming Conversation and Alone Together

“Thompson has accomplished the nearly impossible task of portraying the coding world exactly as it is: messy, inspiring, naive, and—at times—shameful. Coders is a beautifully written and refreshingly fair portrayal of a young industry that’s accomplished so much and still has a lot to learn.” —Saron Yitbarek, CEO and founder of CodeNewbie

Coding Has Become Pop Culture

Exactly what I did not want to become …

But programming has not. And let me dive right into it.

Fifteen years ago when people suggested I should become a programmer because of my introverted and shy personality, analytical mind and complete lack of social life, I laughed and shamelessly flipped them off. But I was a teenager, and in my teenage mind a programmer lived forever with their parents, in the basement, with pimples and large ugly glasses, has never had a girlfriend but plenty of wet dreams about princess Leia. Repeatedly. And that image did not sit well with me. Plus, I actually had a girlfriend, and a hot one at that.

Forward six years, and I was in Budapest airport casually reading a book about HTML…

Add another 6 years and I landed my first full-stack web developer job at a Northern Irish startup. Yes, I took my time, I guess. But how much time? I don’t quite know to be honest. But it was a lot. Was it the mythical 10.000 hours? No. If I would have to make a rough estimation, I would say, to date I have “coded” about 8000 hours. Technically, according to the 10.000 hour rule, in 2000 hours worth of “coding”, I shall be an expert in my field.

Or will I?

Here’s what I have done in those 8000 hours. Grab a seat, as this is going to be long and hard to follow. I have written code in the following languages: C, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java (Android), Swift, PHP, Ruby, Python, Chuck, SQL to work with the following frameworks: Node, Angular, Bootstrap, Foundation, React, Rails, CodeIgniter, Ionic while building landing pages, websites, WordPress sites, eCommerce solutions, eLearning content, Moodle sites, Totara sites, Mahara sites, Common Cartridge packages, SCORM packages, Android apps, iOS apps, hybrid apps, in-house web applications, eBooks, magazines, games, and board-game companion apps. So what am I getting at?

Well, what I am trying to say is that there is no field, therefore becoming an expert in it, becomes unattainable. Coding is not a field. Computer Science is, but that’s an entirely different slice of cheese.

Coding is what presidents, educators, parents and employers and companies herd the young generations into, like cattle onto the holy grail of golden fields of opportunity.

The promise is a dream, the propaganda is well-crafted and simple-worded, heck it’s not even worded any more, it’s dumbed down to simple images for them lovely wee “rugrats” who definitely must learn logical thinking before learning how to feed themselves — please note the sarcasm.

Just 15 years later, coding has become the “pop-culturized” version of programming and what everybody now hopes will be the future army of coders upon which we shall build our AI controlled home, traffic, retail, entertainment, medical, industrial, sexual, illusional and delusional revolution, will turn out to be an absolute shit-show — and there truly is no better word for that. And all this, because programming is being sold as “coding” and “coding” is supposedly easy. Couldn’t be further away from the truth…

So here’s the fine-print. The “factualised” myth that anyone can learn a programming language in mere hours is only true up to a point and that point happens to be very early on in the learning process. Indeed, a and any programming language can be learnt in a single day. In fact if one’s goal is to become a programming polyglot in a month (while having a job), 8–10 languages can be learnt by studying during the weekends. But here’s the catch. Every programming language has its libraries and, its syntactic sugar and personality, and none of that can really be learnt quickly or easily or in a weekend. In fact, in the real world, every programming language becomes the least of your problems.

Just because you speak English, it doesn’t mean you’re good at writing novels, or even short stories. Same goes for coding.

Just because you’ve learnt the language, does not mean you know how to program. Add to that the myriad of frameworks, plugins, libraries, pre-processors, post-processors, coding standards, industry standards, TDD, BDD, content management systems, file versioning, CI, deployment and release management, debugging, ticketing, waterfall, agile, scrum and their combination thereof… and I am not even sure I’ve touched on everything. The point is, being a “coder” involves more or less all of the above. And programming itself is just a tiny tiny part of it. A crucial part, but nevertheless, tiny.

Yet programming is still continuously being dumbed-down …

Apple launched Playgrounds, MIT launched Scratch, Lego is launching Boost, all in an attempt to sell “coding” to younger and younger age-groups as if that will fill the quota of millions of new programmers by 202x.

The message is pretty much “don’t worry about the code, take these virtual puzzle pieces and off you go, you can program”. If only that were true. Here’s the thing about programming. It’s text-based. Has been, and will be for many more years to come. Kids who play with Lego Boost, Playgrounds or Scratch won’t be better programmers by the age of 22 than those who started learning programming at 16 and did it in an actual programming language. In fact, why should they be? I would not expect my child to be a bread-earning individual until the age of 22. Learn “coding” for 6 years, and I guarantee she/he will land a job in no-time.

GUI has also nothing to do with the real programming world, and logical thinking can be transferred to a kid in many other ways. When was the last time you saw a kid do a 1000 piece puzzle on the dining-room table? Exactly…

Kids are by default very logical human beings, in fact that’s how they learn how the world works.

They learn the value of the if-else-statement the first day they’re born. “If I cry, mum will make it stop, else I keep crying until dad shows up (who will probably make everything 10 times worse, but heck, I’m gonna t(c)ry anyway…).” Kids are very logical, hence their often brutal sincerity. You call it innocence, they call it a black-and-white world. There are no multiple switch statements yet. There are no shades of grey. That comes later. Both literally and literarily (in 3 volumes no less…). 😉 Bottom line, they are more than equipped with logical thinking, but put them in front of the TV, or hand them a tablet for 6 hours a day, and all that is going to become a pile of corrupted values as often there is very little thinking involved.

“Coding” is not a musical art, a piano or a violin that a child might need to develop muscle-memory for. It’s engineering.

What programming requires is analytical thinking, problem-solving attitude, stamina for failed attempts at coming up with the right solution, passion for technology, pride in your own code, but maturely accepting someone else’s improvements and observations, and a sense of responsibility for any code you write or contribute to.

Correct me if I am wrong, but none of these traits are easy to cultivate and develop. Certainly not at the age of 5! Yet, nobody seems to sell “coding” as it really is — a fun but difficult journey of discovery, success and failure and all that “da capo”, all year, every year.

Just because “coding” sounds cool, it does not mean it’s not the same ole’ hard-core programming. If anything, it’s even more so today than 15 years ago. Except we now all wear skinny jeans, walk around with even skinnier laptops, moved out of the basement and with all the “fill the gender-gap” hype, we might even end up with decent looking girlfriends.

P.S. Some things don’t change. The ugly glasses stayed. But they’re trendy now, so it’s all good. 😉

https://hackernoon.com/coding-has-become-a-pop-culture-939100f84b0c

The ugly underbelly of coder culture

Today’s developers are overwhelmingly young and male, and they’re barring the door from a more diverse workforce

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Alfred Adler — Understanding Human Nature — Videos

Posted on July 22, 2019. Filed under: Articles, Biology, Blogroll, Books, Culture, Economics, Education, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Love, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Raves, Science, Social Sciences, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Alfred Adler

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Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychiatrist.jpg

Alfred Adler
Born
Alfred Adler

7 February 1870

Died 28 May 1937 (aged 67)

Residence Austria
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater University of Vienna
Known for Individual psychology
Superiority complex
Inferiority complex
Style of life
Spouse(s) Raissa Epstein
Children Alexandra Adler, Kurt Adler, Valentine Adler, Cornelia Adler
Scientific career
Fields Psychotherapistpsychiatrist
Part of a series of articles on
Psychoanalysis
Freud's couch, London, 2004 (2).jpeg

Alfred Adler (/ˈædlər/;[1] German: [ˈaːdlɐ]; 7 February 1870 – 28 May 1937) was an Austrian medical doctorpsychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology.[2] His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority,[3] the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development.[4] Alfred Adler considered a human being as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology “Individual Psychology” (Orgler 1976).

Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.[5] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Adler as the 67th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.[6]

Early life

Alfred Adler was born at Mariahilfer Straße 208[7] in Rudolfsheim, then a village on the western fringes of Vienna, and today part of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, the 15th district of the city. He was second of the seven children of a Hungarian-bornJewish grain merchant and his wife.[8][9] Alfred’s younger brother died in the bed next to him, when Alfred was only three years old.[10]

Alfred was an active, popular child and an average student who was also known for his competitive attitude toward his older brother, Sigmund.

Early on, he developed rickets, which kept him from walking until he was four years old. At the age of four, he developed pneumonia and heard a doctor say to his father, “Your boy is lost”. At that point, he decided to be a physician.[11] He was very interested in the subjects of psychology, sociology and philosophy.[12] After studying at University of Vienna, he specialized as an eye doctor, and later in neurology and psychiatry.[12]

Career

Adler began his medical career as an ophthalmologist, but he soon switched to general practice, and established his office in a less affluent part of Vienna across from the Prater, a combination amusement park and circus. His clients included circus people, and it has been suggested[11] that the unusual strengths and weaknesses of the performers led to his insights into “organ inferiorities” and “compensation”.

In 1902 Adler received an invitation from Sigmund Freud to join an informal discussion group that included Rudolf Reitler and Wilhelm Stekel. The group, the “Wednesday Society” (Mittwochsgesellschaft), met regularly on Wednesday evenings at Freud’s home and was the beginning of the psychoanalytic movement, expanding over time to include many more members. Each week a member would present a paper and after a short break of coffee and cakes, the group would discuss it. The main members were Otto Rank, Max Eitingon, Wilhelm Stekel, Karl Abraham, Hanns Sachs, Fritz Wittels, Max Graf, and Sandor Ferenczi. In 1908, Adler presented his paper, ”The aggressive instinct in life and in neurosis”, at a time when Freud believed that early sexual development was the primary determinant of the making of character, with which Adler took issue. Adler proposed that the sexual and aggressive drives were ”two originally separate instincts which merge later on”. Freud at the time disagreed with this idea.

When Freud later proposed his dual instinct theory of libido and aggressive drives in Freud’s 1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle, without citing Adler, he was reproached that Adler had proposed the aggressive drive in his 1908 paper (Eissler, 1971). Freud later commented in a 1923 footnote he added to the Little Hans case that, ”I have myself been obliged to assert the existence of an aggressive instinct” (1909, p. 140, 2), while pointing out that his conception of an aggressive drive differs from that of Adler. A long-serving member of the group, he made many more beyond this 1908 pivotal contribution to the group, and Adler became president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society eight years later (1910). He remained a member of the Society until 1911, when he and a group of his supporters formally disengaged from Freud’s circle, the first of the great dissenters from orthodox psychoanalysis (preceding Carl Jung‘s split in 1914).[13] This departure suited both Freud and Adler, since they had grown to dislike each other. During his association with Freud, Adler frequently maintained his own ideas which often diverged from Freud’s. While Adler is often referred to as “a pupil of Freud”, in fact this was never true; they were colleagues, Freud referring to him in print in 1909 as “My colleague Dr Alfred Adler”.[14] In 1929 Adler showed a reporter with the New York Herald a copy of the faded postcard that Freud had sent him in 1902. He wanted to prove that he had never been a disciple of Freud’s but rather that Freud had sought him out to share his ideas.

Adler founded the Society for Individual Psychology in 1912 after his break from the psychoanalytic movement. Adler’s group initially included some orthodox Nietzschean adherents (who believed that Adler’s ideas on power and inferiority were closer to Nietzsche than Freud’s). Their enmity aside, Adler retained a lifelong admiration for Freud’s ideas on dreams and credited him with creating a scientific approach to their clinical utilization (Fiebert, 1997). Nevertheless, even regarding dream interpretation, Adler had his own theoretical and clinical approach. The primary differences between Adler and Freud centered on Adler’s contention that the social realm (exteriority) is as important to psychology as is the internal realm (interiority). The dynamics of power and compensation extend beyond sexuality, and gender and politics can be as important as libido. Moreover, Freud did not share Adler’s socialist beliefs, the latter’s wife being for example an intimate friend of many of the Russian Marxists such as Leon Trotsky.[15]

The Adlerian school

Following Adler’s break from Freud, he enjoyed considerable success and celebrity in building an independent school of psychotherapy and a unique personality theory. He traveled and lectured for a period of 25 years promoting his socially oriented approach. His intent was to build a movement that would rival, even supplant, others in psychology by arguing for the holistic integrity of psychological well-being with that of social equality. Adler’s efforts were halted by World War I, during which he served as a doctor with the Austro-Hungarian Army. After the conclusion of the war, his influence increased greatly. In the 1920s, he established a number of child guidance clinics. From 1921 onwards, he was a frequent lecturer in Europe and the United States, becoming a visiting professor at Columbia University in 1927. His clinical treatment methods for adults were aimed at uncovering the hidden purpose of symptoms using the therapeutic functions of insight and meaning.

Adler was concerned with the overcoming of the superiority/inferiority dynamic and was one of the first psychotherapists to discard the analytic couch in favor of two chairs. This allows the clinician and patient to sit together more or less as equals. Clinically, Adler’s methods are not limited to treatment after-the-fact but extend to the realm of prevention by preempting future problems in the child. Prevention strategies include encouraging and promoting social interest, belonging, and a cultural shift within families and communities that leads to the eradication of pampering and neglect (especially corporal punishment). Adler’s popularity was related to the comparative optimism and comprehensibility of his ideas. He often wrote for the lay public. Adler always retained a pragmatic approach that was task-oriented. These “Life tasks” are occupation/work, society/friendship, and love/sexuality. Their success depends on cooperation. The tasks of life are not to be considered in isolation since, as Adler famously commented, “they all throw cross-lights on one another”.[16]

In his bestselling book, Man’s Search for MeaningDr. Viktor E. Frankl compared his own “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” (after Freud’s and Adler’s schools) to Adler’s analysis:

According to logotherapy, the striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. That is why I speak of a will to meaning in contrast to the “pleasure principle” (or, as we could also term it, the will to pleasure) on which Freudian psychoanalysis is centered, as well as in contrast to the will to power stressed by Adlerian psychology.[17]

Emigration

In the early 1930s, after most of Adler’s Austrian clinics had been closed due to his Jewish heritage (despite his conversion to Christianity), Adler left Austria for a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine in the US. Adler died from a heart attack in 1937 in Aberdeen, Scotland, during a lecture tour, although his remains went missing and were unaccounted for until 2007.[18] His death was a temporary blow to the influence of his ideas, although a number of them were subsequently taken up by neo-Freudians. Through the work of Rudolf Dreikurs in the United States and many other adherents worldwide, Adlerian ideas and approaches remain strong and viable more than 70 years after Adler’s death.

Around the world there are various organizations promoting Adler’s orientation towards mental and social well-being. These include the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI), the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology(NASAP) and the International Association for Individual Psychology. Teaching institutes and programs exist in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Switzerland, the United States, Jamaica, Peru, and Wales.

Basic principles

Adler was influenced by the mental construct ideas of the philosopher Hans Vaihinger (The Philosophy of ‘As if’) and the literature of Dostoyevsky. While still a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society he developed a theory of organic inferiority and compensation that was the prototype for his later turn to phenomenology and the development of his famous concept, the inferiority complex.

Adler was also influenced by the philosophies of Immanuel KantFriedrich NietzscheRudolf Virchow and the statesman Jan Smuts (who coined the term “holism“). Adler’s School, known as “Individual Psychology”—an arcane reference to the Latin individuus meaning indivisibility, a term intended to emphasize holism—is both a social and community psychology as well as a depth psychology. Adler was an early advocate in psychology for prevention and emphasized the training of parents, teachers, social workers and so on in democratic approaches that allow a child to exercise their power through reasoned decision making whilst co-operating with others. He was a social idealist, and was known as a socialist in his early years of association with psychoanalysis (1902–1911).[19]

Adler was pragmatic and believed that lay people could make practical use of the insights of psychology. Adler was also an early supporter of feminism in psychology and the social world, believing that feelings of superiority and inferiority were often gendered and expressed symptomatically in characteristic masculine and feminine styles. These styles could form the basis of psychic compensation and lead to mental health difficulties. Adler also spoke of “safeguarding tendencies” and neurotic behavior[20] long before Anna Freudwrote about the same phenomena in her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense.

Adlerian-based scholarly, clinical and social practices focus on the following topics:[citation needed]

  • Social interest and community feeling
  • Holism and the creative self
  • Fictional finalism, teleology, and goal constructs
  • Psychological and social encouragement
  • Inferiority, superiority and compensation
  • Life style/style of life
  • Early recollections (a projective technique)
  • Family constellation and birth order
  • Life tasks and social embeddedness
  • The conscious and unconscious realms
  • Private logic and common sense (based in part on Kant’s “sensus communis“)
  • Symptoms and neurosis
  • Safeguarding behaviour
  • Guilt and guilt feelings
  • Socratic questioning
  • Dream interpretation
  • Child and adolescent psychology
  • Democratic approaches to parenting and families
  • Adlerian approaches to classroom management
  • Leadership and organisational psychology

From its inception, Adlerian psychology has included both professional and lay adherents. Adler felt that all people could make use of the scientific insights garnered by psychology and he welcomed everyone, from decorated academics to those with no formal education to participate in spreading the principles of Adlerian psychology.[citation needed]

Adler’s approach to personality

Adler’s book, Über den nervösen Charakter (The Neurotic Character) defines his earlier key ideas. He argued that human personality could be explained teleologically: parts of the individual’s unconscious self ideally work to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority (or rather completeness).[21] The desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were disregarded and the individual overcompensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse.[22]

Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions.[23]

Psychodynamics and teleology

Adler maintained that human psychology is psychodynamic in nature. Unlike Freud’s metapsychology that emphasizes instinctual demands, human psychology is guided by goals and fueled by a yet unknown creative force. Like Freud’s instincts, Adler’s fictive goals are largely unconscious. These goals have a “teleological” function.[24] Constructivist Adlerians, influenced by neo-Kantian and Nietzschean ideas, view these “teleological” goals as “fictions” in the sense that Hans Vaihinger spoke of (fictio). Usually there is a fictional final goal which can be deciphered alongside of innumerable sub-goals. The inferiority/superiority dynamic is constantly at work through various forms of compensation and overcompensation. For example, in anorexia nervosa the fictive final goal is to “be perfectly thin” (overcompensation on the basis of a feeling of inferiority). Hence, the fictive final goal can serve a persecutory function that is ever-present in subjectivity (though its trace springs are usually unconscious). The end goal of being “thin” is fictive however since it can never be subjectively achieved.

Teleology serves another vital function for Adlerians. Chilon’s “hora telos” (“see the end, consider the consequences”) provides for both healthy and maladaptive psychodynamics. Here we also find Adler’s emphasis on personal responsibility in mentally healthy subjects who seek their own and the social good.

Constructivism and metaphysics

The metaphysical thread of Adlerian theory does not problematise the notion of teleology since concepts such as eternity (an ungraspable end where time ceases to exist) match the religious aspects that are held in tandem. In contrast, the constructivist Adlerian threads (either humanist/modernist or postmodern in variant) seek to raise insight of the force of unconscious fictions– which carry all of the inevitability of ‘fate’– so long as one does not understand them. Here, ‘teleology’ itself is fictive yet experienced as quite real. This aspect of Adler’s theory is somewhat analogous to the principles developed in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Therapy (CT). Both Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck credit Adler as a major precursor to REBT and CT. Ellis in particular was a member of the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology and served as an editorial board member for the Adlerian Journal Individual Psychology.[citation needed]

As a psychodynamic system, Adlerians excavate the past of a client/patient in order to alter their future and increase integration into community in the ‘here-and-now’.[25] The ‘here-and-now’ aspects are especially relevant to those Adlerians who emphasize humanism and/or existentialism in their approaches.

Holism

Metaphysical Adlerians emphasise a spiritual holism in keeping with what Jan Smuts articulated (Smuts coined the term “holism”), that is, the spiritual sense of one-ness that holism usually implies (etymology of holism: from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) Smuts believed that evolution involves a progressive series of lesser wholes integrating into larger ones. Whilst Smuts’ text Holism and Evolution is thought to be a work of science, it actually attempts to unify evolution with a higher metaphysical principle (holism). The sense of connection and one-ness revered in various religious traditions (among these, Baha’i, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) finds a strong complement in Adler’s thought.[citation needed]

The pragmatic and materialist aspects to contextualizing members of communities, the construction of communities and the socio-historical-political forces that shape communities matter a great deal when it comes to understanding an individual’s psychological make-up and functioning. This aspect of Adlerian psychology holds a high level of synergy with the field of community psychology, especially given Adler’s concern for what he called “the absolute truth and logic of communal life”.[26] However, Adlerian psychology, unlike community psychology, is holistically concerned with both prevention and clinical treatment after-the-fact. Hence, Adler can be considered the “first community psychologist”, a discourse that formalized in the decades following Adler’s death (King & Shelley, 2008).

Adlerian psychology, Carl Jung‘s analytical psychologyGestalt therapy and Karen Horney‘s psychodynamic approach are holistic schools of psychology. These discourses eschew a reductive approach to understanding human psychology and psychopathology.[citation needed]

Typology

Adler developed a scheme of so-called personality types, which were however always to be taken as provisional or heuristic since he did not, in essence, believe in personality types, and at different times proposed different and equally tentative systems.[27] The danger with typology is to lose sight of the individual’s uniqueness and to gaze reductively, acts that Adler opposed. Nevertheless, he intended to illustrate patterns that could denote a characteristic governed under the overall style of life. Hence American Adlerians such as Harold Mosak have made use of Adler’s typology in this provisional sense:[28]

  • The Getting or Leaning They are sensitive people who have developed a shell around themselves which protects them, but they must rely on others to carry them through life’s difficulties. They have low energy levels and so become dependent. When overwhelmed, they develop what we typically think of as neurotic symptoms: phobias, obsessions and compulsions, general anxiety, hysteria, amnesias, and so on, depending on individual details of their lifestyle.
  • The Avoiding types are those that hate being defeated. They may be successful, but have not taken any risks getting there. They are likely to have low social contact in fear of rejection or defeat in any way.
  • The Ruling or Dominant type strive for power and are willing to manipulate situations and people, anything to get their way. People of this type are also prone to anti-social behavior.
  • The Socially Useful types are those who are very outgoing and very active. They have a lot of social contact and strive to make changes for the good.

These ‘types’ are typically formed in childhood and are expressions of the Style of Life.

The importance of memories

Adler placed great emphasis upon the interpretation of early memories in working with patients and school children, writing that, “Among all psychic expressions, some of the most revealing are the individual’s memories.”[29] Adler viewed memories as expressions of “private logic” and as metaphors for an individual’s personal philosophy of life or “lifestyle”. He maintained that memories are never incidental or trivial; rather, they are chosen reminders: “(A person’s) memories are the reminders she carries about with her of her limitations and of the meanings of events. There are no ‘chance’ memories. Out of the incalculable number of impressions that an individual receives, she chooses to remember only those which she considers, however dimly, to have a bearing on her problems.”[30]

On birth order

Adler often emphasized one’s birth order as having an influence on the style of life and the strengths and weaknesses in one’s psychological make up.[31] Birth order referred to the placement of siblings within the family. Adler believed that the firstborn child would be in a favorable position, enjoying the full attention of the eager new parents until the arrival of a second child. This second child would cause the first born to suffer feelings of dethronement, no longer being the center of attention. Adler (1908) believed that in a three-child family, the oldest child would be the most likely to suffer from neuroticism and substance addiction which he reasoned was a compensation for the feelings of excessive responsibility “the weight of the world on one’s shoulders” (e.g. having to look after the younger ones) and the melancholic loss of that once supremely pampered position. As a result, he predicted that this child was the most likely to end up in jail or an asylum. Youngest children would tend to be overindulged, leading to poor social empathy. Consequently, the middle child, who would experience neither dethronement nor overindulgence, was most likely to develop into a successful individual yet also most likely to be a rebel and to feel squeezed-out. Adler himself was the third (some sources credit second) in a family of six children.

Adler never produced any scientific support for his interpretations on birth order roles, nor did he feel the need to. Yet the value of the hypothesis was to extend the importance of siblings in marking the psychology of the individual beyond Freud’s more limited emphasis on the mother and father. Hence, Adlerians spend time therapeutically mapping the influence that siblings (or lack thereof) had on the psychology of their clients. The idiographic approach entails an excavation of the phenomenology of one’s birth order position for likely influence on the subject’s Style of Life. In sum, the subjective experiences of sibling positionality and inter-relations are psychodynamically important for Adlerian therapists and personality theorists, not the cookbook predictions that may or may not have been objectively true in Adler’s time.

For Adler, birth order answered the question, “Why do children, who are raised in the same family, grow up with very different personalities?” While a strict geneticist, believing siblings are raised in a shared environment, may claim any differences in personality would be caused by subtle variations in the individuals’ genetics, Adler showed through his birth order theory that children do not grow up in the same shared environment, but the oldest child grows up in a family where they have younger siblings, the middle child with older and younger siblings, and the youngest with older siblings. The position in the family constellation, Adler said, is the reason for these differences in personality and not genetics: a point later taken up by Eric Berne.[32]

On addiction

Adler’s insight into birth order, compensation and issues relating to the individuals’ perception of community also led him to investigate the causes and treatment of substance abuse disorders, particularly alcoholism and morphinism, which already were serious social problems of his time. Adler’s work with addicts was significant since most other prominent proponents of psychoanalysis invested relatively little time and thought into this widespread ill of the modern and post-modern age. In addition to applying his individual psychology approach of organ inferiority, for example, to the onset and causes of addictive behaviours, he also tried to find a clear relationship of drug cravings to sexual gratification or their substitutions. Early pharmaco-therapeutic interventions with non-addictive substances, such as neuphyllin were used, since withdrawal symptoms were explained by a form of “water-poisoning” that made the use of diuretics necessary. Adler and his wife’s pragmatic approach, and the seemingly high success rates of their treatment were based on their ideas of social functioning and well-being. Clearly, life style choices and situations were emphasized, for example the need for relaxation or the negative effects of early childhood conflicts were examined, which compared to other authoritarian or religious treatment regimens, were clearly modern approaches. Certainly some of his observations, for example that psychopaths were more likely to be drug addicts are not compatible with current methodologies and theories of substance abuse treatment, but the self-centred attributes of the illness and the clear escapism from social responsibilities by pathological addicts put Adler’s treatment modalities clearly into a modern contextual reasoning.[33]

On homosexuality

Adler’s ideas regarding non-heterosexual sexuality and various social forms of deviance have long been controversial. Along with prostitution and criminality, Adler had classified ‘homosexuals’ as falling among the “failures of life”. In 1917, he began his writings on homosexuality with a 52-page magazine, and sporadically published more thoughts throughout the rest of his life.

The Dutch psychologist Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg underlines how Alfred Adler came to his conclusions for, in 1917, Adler believed that he had established a connection between homosexuality and an inferiority complex towards one’s own gender. This point of view differed from Freud’s theory that homosexuality is rooted in narcissism or Jung‘s view of expressions of contrasexuality vis-à-vis the archetypes of the Anima and Animus.

There is evidence that Adler may have moved towards abandoning the hypothesis. Towards the end of Adler’s life, in the mid-1930s, his opinion towards homosexuality began to shift. Elizabeth H. McDowell, a New York state family social worker recalls undertaking supervision with Adler on a young man who was “living in sin” with an older man in New York City. Adler asked her, “Is he happy, would you say?” “Oh yes,” McDowell replied. Adler then stated, “Well, why don’t we leave him alone.”[34]

According to Phyllis Bottome, who wrote Adler’s Biography (after Adler himself laid upon her that task): “He always treated homosexuality as lack of courage. These were but ways of obtaining a slight release for a physical need while avoiding a greater obligation. A transient partner of your own sex is a better known road and requires less courage than a permanent contact with an “unknown” sex. […] Adler taught that men cannot be judged from within by their “possessions,” as he used to call nerves, glands, traumas, drives et cetera, since both judge and prisoner are liable to misconstrue what is invisible and incalculable; but that he can be judged, with no danger from introspection, by how he measures up to the three common life tasks set before every human being between the cradle and the grave. Work or employment, love or marriage, social contact.”[35]

Parent education

Adler emphasized both treatment and prevention. With regard to psychodynamic psychology, Adlerians emphasize the foundational importance of childhood in developing personality and any tendency towards various forms of psychopathology. The best way to inoculate against what are now termed “personality disorders” (what Adler had called the “neurotic character”), or a tendency to various neurotic conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.), is to train a child to be and feel an equal part of the family. The responsibility of the optimal development of the child is not limited to the mother or father, but rather includes teachers and society more broadly. Adler argued therefore that teachers, nurses, social workers, and so on require training in parent education to complement the work of the family in fostering a democratic character. When a child does not feel equal and is enacted upon (abused through pampering or neglect) he or she is likely to develop inferiority or superiority complexes and various concomitant compensation strategies.[36] These strategies exact a social toll by seeding higher divorce rates, the breakdown of the family, criminal tendencies, and subjective suffering in the various guises of psychopathology. Adlerians have long promoted parent education groups, especially those influenced by the famous Austrian/American Adlerian Rudolf Dreikurs (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964).

Spirituality, ecology and community

In a late work, Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind (1938), Adler turns to the subject of metaphysics, where he integrates Jan Smuts’ evolutionary holism with the ideas of teleology and community: “sub specie aeternitatis“. Unabashedly, he argues his vision of society: “Social feeling means above all a struggle for a communal form that must be thought of as eternally applicable… when humanity has attained its goal of perfection… an ideal society amongst all mankind, the ultimate fulfillment of evolution.”[37] Adler follows this pronouncement with a defense of metaphysics:

I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics; it has had a great influence on human life and development. We are not blessed with the possession of absolute truth; on that account we are compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results of our actions, etc. Our idea of social feeling as the final form of humanity – of an imagined state in which all the problems of life are solved and all our relations to the external world rightly adjusted – is a regulative ideal, a goal that gives our direction. This goal of perfection must bear within it the goal of an ideal community, because all that we value in life, all that endures and continues to endure, is eternally the product of this social feeling.[38]

This social feeling for Adler is Gemeinschaftsgefühl, a community feeling whereby one feels he or she belongs with others and has also developed an ecological connection with nature (plants, animals, the crust of this earth) and the cosmos as a whole, sub specie aeternitatis. Clearly, Adler himself had little problem with adopting a metaphysical and spiritual point of view to support his theories. Yet his overall theoretical yield provides ample room for the dialectical humanist (modernist) and the postmodernist to explain the significance of community and ecology through differing lenses (even if Adlerians have not fully considered how deeply divisive and contradictory these three threads of metaphysics, modernism, and post modernism are).

Death and cremation

Adler died suddenly in AberdeenScotland, in May 1937, during a three-week visit to the University of Aberdeen. While walking down the street, he was seen to collapse and lie motionless on the pavement. As a man ran over to him and loosened his collar, Adler mumbled “Kurt”, the name of his son and died. The autopsy performed determined his death was caused by a degeneration of the heart muscle.[39] His body was cremated at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh but the ashes were never reclaimed. In 2007, his ashes were rediscovered in a casket at Warriston Crematorium and returned to Vienna for burial in 2011.[40]

Use of Adler’s work without attribution

Much of Adler’s theories have been absorbed into modern psychology without attribution. Psychohistorian Henri F. Ellenberger writes, “It would not be easy to find another author from which so much has been borrowed on all sides without acknowledgement than Alfred Adler.” Ellenberger posits several theories for “the discrepancy between greatness of achievement, massive rejection of person and work, and wide-scale, quiet plagiarism…” These include Adler’s “imperfect” style of writing and demeanor, his “capacity to create a new obviousness,” and his lack of a large and well organized following.[41]

Influence on depth psychology

In collaboration with Sigmund Freud and a small group of Freud’s colleagues, Adler was among the co-founders of the psychoanalytic movement and a core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: indeed, to Freud he was “the only personality there”.[42] He was the first major figure to break away from psychoanalysis to form an independent school of psychotherapy and personality theory,[43] which he called individual psychology because he believed a human to be an indivisible whole, an individuum. He also imagined a person to be connected or associated with the surrounding world.[44]

This was after Freud declared Adler’s ideas as too contrary, leading to an ultimatum to all members of the Society (which Freud had shepherded) to drop Adler or be expelled, disavowing the right to dissent (Makari, 2008). Nevertheless, Freud always took Adler’s ideas seriously, calling them “honorable errors. Though one rejects the content of Adler’s views, one can recognize their consistency and significance.”[45] Following this split, Adler would come to have an enormous, independent effect on the disciplines of counseling and psychotherapy as they developed over the course of the 20th century (Ellenberger, 1970). He influenced notable figures in subsequent schools of psychotherapy such as Rollo MayViktor FranklAbraham Maslow and Albert Ellis.[46] His writings preceded, and were at times surprisingly consistent with, later neo-Freudian insights such as those evidenced in the works of Otto RankKaren HorneyHarry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm, some considering that it would take several decades for Freudian ego psychology to catch up with Adler’s ground-breaking approach.[47]

Adler emphasized the importance of equality in preventing various forms of psychopathology, and espoused the development of social interest and democratic family structures for raising children.[48] His most famous concept is the inferiority complex which speaks to the problem of self-esteem and its negative effects on human health (e.g. sometimes producing a paradoxical superiority striving). His emphasis on power dynamics is rooted in the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose works were published a few decades before Adler’s. Specifically, Adler’s conceptualization of the “Will to Power” focuses on the individual’s creative power to change for the better.[49] Adler argued for holism, viewing the individual holistically rather than reductively, the latter being the dominant lens for viewing human psychology. Adler was also among the first in psychology to argue in favor of feminism, and the female analyst,[50] making the case that power dynamics between men and women (and associations with masculinity and femininity) are crucial to understanding human psychology (Connell, 1995). Adler is considered, along with Freud and Jung, to be one of the three founding figures of depth psychology, which emphasizes the unconscious and psychodynamics (Ellenberger, 1970; Ehrenwald, 1991); and thus to be one of the three great psychologists/philosophers of the twentieth century.[51]

Personal life

During his college years, he had become attached to a group of socialist students, among which he had found his wife-to-be, Raissa Timofeyewna Epstein, an intellectual and social activist from Russia studying in Vienna. They married in 1897 and had four children, two of whom became psychiatrists.[52] Their children were writer, psychiatrist and Socialist activist Alexandra Adler;[53] psychiatrist Kurt Adler;[54] writer and activist Valentine Adler;[55] and Cornelia “Nelly” Adler.[56]

Author and journalist Margot Adler (1946-2014) was Adler’s granddaughter.

Artistic and cultural references

The two main characters in the novel Plant Teacher engage in a session of Adlerian lifestyle interpretation, including early memory interpretation.[57]

English-language Adlerian journals

North America
United Kingdom
  • Adlerian Yearbook (Adlerian Society, UK)

Publications

Alfred Adler’s key publications were The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1927), Understanding Human Nature (1927), & What Life Could Mean to You (1931). Other important publications are The Pattern of Life (1930), The Science of Living (1930), The Neurotic Constitution (1917), The Problems of Neurosis (1930). In his lifetime, Adler published more than 300 books and articles.

The Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington has recently published a twelve-volume set of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, covering his writings from 1898-1937. An entirely new translation of Adler’s magnum opus, The Neurotic Character, is featured in Volume 1. Volume 12 provides comprehensive overviews of Adler’s mature theory and contemporary Adlerian practice.

  • Volume 1 : The Neurotic Character — 1907
  • Volume 2 : Journal Articles 1898-1909
  • Volume 3 : Journal Articles 1910-1913
  • Volume 4 : Journal Articles 1914-1920
  • Volume 5 : Journal Articles 1921-1926
  • Volume 6 : Journal Articles 1927-1931
  • Volume 7 : Journal Articles 1931-1937
  • Volume 8 : Lectures to Physicians & Medical Students
  • Volume 9 : Case Histories
  • Volume 10 : Case Readings & Demonstrations
  • Volume 11 : Education for Prevention
  • Volume 12 : The General System of Individual Psychology

Other key Adlerian texts

  • Adler, A. (1964). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks. ISBN 0-06-131154-5.
  • Adler, A. (1979). Superiority and Social Interest: A Collection of Later Writings. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00910-6.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ “Adler”Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Hoffman, E (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. pp. 41–91. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  3. ^ Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) Chapter 6
  4. ^ Carlson, Neil R (2010). Psychology the science of behaviour.
  5. ^ “my.access — University of Toronto Libraries Portal”. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ Haggbloom, Steven J.; Warnick, Renee; Warnick, Jason E.; Jones, Vinessa K.; Yarbrough, Gary L.; Russell, Tenea M.; Borecky, Chris M.; McGahhey, Reagan; et al. (2002). “The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century”Review of General Psychology6 (2): 139–152. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.6.2.139.
  7. ^ Prof. Dr. Klaus Lohrmann “Jüdisches Wien. Kultur-Karte” (2003), Mosse-Berlin Mitte gGmbH (Verlag Jüdische Presse)
  8. ^ “Alfred Adler Biography”. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  9. ^ O., Prochaska, James (2013-05-10). Systems of psychotherapy : a transtheoretical analysis. Norcross, John C., 1957- (Eighth ed.). Stamford, CT. ISBN 9781133314516OCLC 851089001.
  10. ^ Orgler, Hertha. Alfred Adler, the Man and His Work;. London: C. W. Daniel, 1939. 67. Print.
  11. Jump up to:a b C. George Boeree (1937-05-28). “Personality Theories – Alfred Adler by Dr. C. George Boeree”. Webspace.ship.edu. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  12. Jump up to:a b Orgler, H. (1976). Alfred Adler. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 22(1), 67-68.
  13. ^ For further detail, see Sigmund Freud#Resignations from the IPA
  14. ^ Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 41n
  15. ^ Jones, p. 401
  16. ^ The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, 1956, edited by H. L. Ansbacher, R. R. Ansbacher, pp. 132–133
  17. ^ Frankl, Viktor. (1959). Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press; also, Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009) “A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology”Mater Dei Institute. pp 10-12.
  18. ^ Carrell, Severin (11 April 2011). “Ashes of psychoanalysis co-founder Alfred Adler found after 74 years”The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  19. ^ “Alfred Adler’s Influence on the Three Leading Cofounders of Humanistic Psychology”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology (September 1990).
  20. ^ Encyclopedia of Theory & Practice in Psychotherapy & Counseling By Jose A. Fadul (General Editor)
  21. ^ ‘Inferiority Complex’, in Richard Gregory ed, The Oxford Companion to the Mind (1987) p. 368
  22. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch. 11 ‘Aggressive Character Traits’
  23. ^ Gerald Corey, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy (1991)p. 155 and p. 385
  24. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 69-76
  25. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 139-42
  26. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 209
  27. ^ Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970) p. 624
  28. ^ H. H. Mosak/M. Maniacci, A Primer of Adlerian Psychology (1999) p. 64-5
  29. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58.
  30. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58–59.
  31. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch 9 “The Family Constellation”
  32. ^ Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1975) p. 71-81
  33. ^ Adler, A. (1932). Narcotic Abuse and Alcoholism, Chapter VII. p. 50-65. The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler: Journal articles: 1931-1937. Transl. by G.L.Liebenau. T.Stein (2005). ISBN 0-9715645-8-2.
  34. ^ Manaster, Painter, Deutsch, and Overholt, 1977, pp. 81–82
  35. ^ “Alfred Adler – A Biography”, G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York (copyright 1939), chap. Chief Contributions to Thought, subchap. 7, The Masculine Protest, and subchap. 9, Three Life Tasks, page 160.
  36. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 44-5
  37. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, p. 275
  38. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, pp. 275–276
  39. ^ Donaldson, Norman and Betty (1980). How Did They Die?. Greenwich House. ISBN 978-0-517-40302-0.
  40. ^ “Lost ashes of Alfred Adler return to Vienna”BBC News. 18 April 2011.
  41. ^ Ellenberger, Henri F. “The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry.” United States of America. Basic Books. 1970. Pages 645-646.
  42. ^ Freud, quoted in Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1964) p. 353
  43. ^ Stepansky, P (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-88163-007-7.
  44. ^ Orgler H (1976). “Alfred Adler”. International Journal of Social Psychiatry22 (1): 67–68. doi:10.1177/002076407602200110PMID 783061.
  45. ^ Quoted in Jones, p. 400
  46. ^ Stein, H.T. (2008). “Adler’s Legacy: Past, Present, and Future”. Journal of Individual Psychology64 (1): 4–20.
  47. ^ Ruth L. Munroe, Schools of Psychoanalytic Thought (1957) p. 437
  48. ^ Adler, Alfred (1931). What Life Could Mean to You. Center City, MN: Hazelden.
  49. ^ Stepp, G. “A Psychology of Change”.
  50. ^ Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for our Time (1988) p. 503n
  51. ^ James Hemming, Foreword, Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) p. 9
  52. ^ “Classical Adlerian Photograph Gallery”. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  53. ^ “Adler, Valentine (1898–1942)”Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research Inc. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 10 January2013.(subscription required)
  54. ^ Burkhart, Ford. “Dr. Kurt Alfred Adler, 92; Directed Therapeutic Institute”The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  55. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  56. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  57. ^ Alethia, Caroline. Plant Teacher. Viator. United States. (2011) ISBN 1468138391. ASIN B006QAECNO.

References

  • Adler, A. (1908). Der Aggressionstrieb im Leben und der Neurose. Fortsch. Med. 26: 577-584.
  • Adler, A. (1938). Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind. J. Linton and R. Vaughan (Trans.). London: Faber and Faber Ltd.
  • Adler, A. (1956). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks.
  • Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
  • Dreikurs, R. & Soltz, V. (1964). Children the Challenge. New York: Hawthorn Books.
  • Ehrenwald, J. (1991, 1976). The History of Psychotherapy: From healing magic to encounter. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.
  • Eissler, K.R. (1971). Death Drive, Ambivalence, and Narcissism. Psychoanal. St. Child, 26: 25-78.
  • Ellenberger, H. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious. New York: Basic Books.
  • Fiebert, M. S. (1997). In and out of Freud’s shadow: A chronology of Adler’s relationship with Freud. Individual Psychology, 53(3), 241-269.
  • Freud, S. (1909). Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy. Standard Edition of the Works of Sigmund Freud, London: Hogarth Press, Vol. 10, pp. 3-149.
  • King, R. & Shelley, C. (2008). Community Feeling and Social Interest: Adlerian Parallels, Synergy, and Differences with the Field of Community Psychology. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 18, 96-107.
  • Manaster, G. J., Painter, G., Deutsch, D., & Overholt, B. J. (Eds.). (1977). Alfred Adler: As We Remember Him. Chicago: North American Society of Adlerian Psychology.
  • Shelley, C. (Ed.). (1998). Contemporary Perspectives on Psychotherapy and Homosexualities. London: Free Association Books.
  • Slavik, S. & King, R. (2007). Adlerian therapeutic strategy. The Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology, 37(1), 3-16.
  • Gantschacher, H. (ARBOS 2007). Witness and Victim of the Apocalypse, chapter 13 page 12 and chapter 14 page 6.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.

Further reading

  • Orgler, Hertha, Alfred Adler, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, V. 22 (1), 1976-Spring, p. 67
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – A Biography. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York.
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – Apostle of Freedom. London: Faber and Faber. 3rd Ed. 1957.
  • Carlson, J., Watts, R. E., & Maniacci, M. (2005). Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-59147-285-7.
  • Dinkmeyer, D., Sr., & Dreikurs, R. (2000). Encouraging Children to Learn. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-082-4.
  • Rudolf Dreikurs (1935): An Introduction to Individual Psychology. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co. Ltd. – New edition 1983: London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21055-0.
  • Grey, L. (1998). Alfred Adler: The Forgotten Prophet: A Vision for the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96072-2.
  • Handlbauer, B. (1998). The Freud – Adler Controversy. Oxford, UK: Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-127-2.
  • Hoffman, E. (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. New York: Addison-Wesley Co. ISBN 0-201-63280-2.
  • Lehrer, R. (1999). “Adler and Nietzsche”. In: J. Golomb, W. Santaniello, and R. Lehrer. (Eds.). Nietzsche and Depth Psychology. (pp. 229–246). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4140-7.
  • Mosak, H. H. & Di Pietro, R. (2005). Early Recollections: Interpretive Method and Application. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95287-5.
  • Oberst, U. E. and Stewart, A. E. (2003). Adlerian Psychotherapy: An Advanced Approach to Individual Psychology. New York: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-122-7.
  • Orgler, H. (1963). Alfred Adler: The Man and His Work: Triumph Over the Inferiority Complex. New York: Liveright.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.
  • Josef Rattner (1983): Alfred Adler – Life and Literature. Ungar Pub. Co. ISBN 0-8044-5988-6.
  • Slavik, S. & Carlson, J. (Eds.). (2005). Readings in the Theory of Individual Psychology. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95168-2.
  • Manès Sperber (1974). Masks of Loneliness: Alfred Adler in Perspective. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-612950-7.
  • Stepansky, P. E. (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. ISBN 0-88163-007-1.
  • Watts, R. E. (2003). Adlerian, cognitive, and constructivist therapies: An integrative dialogue. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-8261-1984-0.
  • Watts, R. E., & Carlson, J. (1999). Interventions and strategies in counseling and psychotherapy. New York: Accelerated Development/Routledge. ISBN 1-56032-690-5.
  • Way, Lewis (1950): Adler’s Place in Psychology. London: Allen & Unwin.
  • Way, Lewis (1956): Alfred Adler – An Introduction to his Psychology. London: Pelican.
  • West, G. K. (1975). Kierkegaard and Adler. Tallahassee: Florida State University.

External links]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Adler

 

Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson June 2018.jpg

Jordan Peterson in Dallas, Texas, USA in June 2018
Born
Jordan Bernt Peterson

June 12, 1962 (age 57)

EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater
Spouse(s)
Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl
Notable students Colin G. DeYoung
Influences Carl Jung
Influenced Gregg Hurwitz
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Signature
Jordan Peterson Signature.svg

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson has bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and then an associate professor in the psychology department.[4][5] In 1998, he moved back to Canada as a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, where, as of 2019, he is a full professor.

Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999), examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and several other topics such as motivation for genocide.[6][7][8] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[4][9][10]

In 2016 Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code”. The Act added “gender identity and expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination,[a][11] which Peterson characterised as an introduction of compelled speech into law,[12][13][14] although legal experts have disagreed.[15] He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.[4][9][10] Peterson is associated with the “Intellectual Dark Web“.[16][17][18]

Contents

Early life

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962,[19] and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.[20] He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[21][22] His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/ BAIR-ənt),[23] after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[24]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley—mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[25] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party. He saw his experience of disillusionment resonating with Orwell’s diagnosis, in The Road to Wigan Pier, of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[21][26] He left the NDP at age 18.[27]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982.[27] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War, 20th-century European totalitarianism,[2][28] and the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[21] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[28] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[29] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][30]

Career

Peterson at the University of Toronto in March 2017.

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[27] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[4] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][29]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3]Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers[31] and has been cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017. [32]

For most of his career, Peterson had an active clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He had been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16.[25][33]As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017[9] and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.[22][34]

In June 2018, Peterson debated with Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver while moderated by Bret Weinstein, and again in July at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London while moderated by Douglas Murray, over the topic of religion and God.[35][36] In April 2019, Peterson debated professor Slavoj Žižek at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Canada over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.[37][38]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999)

In 1999 Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaning, form beliefs and make narrativesusing ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[27][5][39]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[27]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[27][5][39] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[39] Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[21][29][40]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[9][4][10] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[41][42][43] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed in the UK by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention, as well as popularity for the book.[44][45][46][47] The book topped bestselling lists in Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom.[48][49] As of January 2019, Peterson is working on a sequel to 12 Rules for Life.[50]

YouTube channel and podcasts

Peterson (right) speaking to Dave Rubin in September 2018

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[51]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 65 million views as of August 2018.[33][52] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received on the crowdfunding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017, more than $50,000 by July 2017, and over $80,000 by May 2018.[25][33][53][54] In December 2018, Peterson decided to delete his Patreon account after Patreon’s controversial bans of political personalities.[55]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[52][56] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has included academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker.[57] On his YouTube channel he has interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others.[57] In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson’s daughter as a co-host on some episodes.[58] Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[10]

Biblical lectures

In May 2017, Peterson began The psychological significance of the Biblical stories,[59] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[10][60]

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said that the fellowship would give him “the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months”, and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus.[61] A spokesperson for the University said that there was “no place” for anyone who could not uphold the “inclusive environment” of the university.[62] After a week, the vice-chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobe shirt.[63] The Cambridge student union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation “a political act to … legitimise figures such as Peterson” and that his work and views are not “representative of the student body”.[64]Peterson called the decision a “deeply unfortunate … error of judgement” and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an “ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob”.[65][66]

Self Authoring Suite

In 2005, Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with a series of online writing exercises.[67] Titled the Self Authoring Suite,[21] it includes the Past Authoring Program (a guided autobiography); two Present Authoring Programs which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well as since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[68][69] The programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto.[4] Peterson’s co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[69][70] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[21]

Political views

Jordan Peterson speaking in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, Hungary, in May 2019.

Peterson has characterized himself as a “classic British liberal“,[28][71][72] and as a “traditionalist”.[73] He has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing.[52] The New York Times described Peterson as “conservative-leaning”,[74] while The Washington Post described him as “conservative”.[75]

Academia and political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[56][76]

Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[77] while in The SpectatorTim Lott stated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[28] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[33]

According to his study—conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy—of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: “PC-egalitarianism” and “PC-authoritarianism“, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[78] Jason McBride claims Peterson places classical liberals in the first type, and places so-called social justice warriors, who he says “weaponize compassion”, in the second.[21][2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[78]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[33] According to Peterson, he watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[79] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[28][80][81]

Postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politicsthroughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[80]

Peterson says that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s[76] have built upon and extended certain core tenets of Marxism and communismwhile simultaneously appearing to disavow both ideologies. He says that it is difficult to understand contemporary Western society without considering the influence of a strain of postmodernist thought that migrated from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He states that certain academics in the humanities

… started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name … The people who hold this doctrine—this radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identityor sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount—they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well.[80]

Peterson’s perspective on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments has been compared to Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories.[46][82][83][84]

Peterson says that “disciplines like women’s studies should be defunded” and advises freshman students to avoid subjects like sociologyanthropologyEnglish literatureethnic studies and racial studies, as well as other fields of study he believes are corrupted by the Neo-Marxist ideology.[85][86][87] He says that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[88] cult-like behaviour,[86] safe-spaces,[85]and radical left-wing political activism for students.[76] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses artificial intelligence to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[89][90]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[76] In regard to identity politics, while the “left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let’s say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride” he considers them “equally dangerous” and that, instead, what should be emphasized is individualism and individual responsibility.[91] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[92]

Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[25][12] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[12][93]

Peterson speaking at a Free Speech Rally in October of 2016

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[13] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments, paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[14] Other academics and lawyers challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16.[13]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive” and of “fundamentally mischaracterising” the law.[94][25] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[95][96][97] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me […] If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no […] If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[97] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[98]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[99][25]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[100] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[101] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[32] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said, “Committees assess only the information contained in the application.”[102] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[103] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[104] In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill.[101]

In November 2017, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University first year communications course was censured by her professors for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16 with another professor, during a classroom discussion about pronouns.[105][106][107] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate”, being compared to a “speech by Hitler“,[26] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[108] The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[109][110][111] The events were criticized by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[112][113][114] and national newspaper columnists[115][116][117][118] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors.[119] Wilfried Laurier asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.[120]

Gender relations and masculinity

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing “crisis of masculinity” and “backlash against masculinity” where the “masculine spirit is under assault”.[20][121][122][123] He has argued that feminism and policies such as no-fault divorce have had adverse effects on gender relations and destabilized society.[121] He has argued that the existing societal hierarchy that the “left” has characterised as an “oppressive patriarchy” might “be predicated on competence.”[20] Peterson has said that men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that “enforced monogamy”, i.e. societies wherein monogamy is a social norm, decrease male violence.[20][121] He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a push to “feminize” men, saying “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”[124] He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview where he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap.[125][126]Peterson disputed that the gender pay gap was solely due to sexual discrimination.[126][127][128] Writing for The New York TimesNellie Bowles said that most of Peterson’s ideas “stem from a gnawing anxiety around gender”.[20]

Climate change

Peterson doubts the scientific consensus on climate change.[129][130] Peterson has said he is “very skeptical of the models that are used to predict climate change”.[131] He has also said, “You can’t trust the data because too much ideology is involved”.[132][130]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[25] They have one daughter and one son.[21][25]

He is a philosophical pragmatist.[60] In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked “are you a Christian?” and responded “I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes”.[133] In 2018, Peterson emphasized that his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[134] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[9] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[28]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings,[26] displayed in his house as a reminder of, he argues, the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[4][34] In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie (“Great Seeker”).[26][135] In late 2016, Peterson went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables to control severe depression and an auto-immune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[22][136] He stopped eating any vegetables in mid-2018.[137]

Peterson wrote the foreword to the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Gulag Archipelago, released in November 2018.[138]

Bibliography

Books

Select publications

Notes

  1. ^ The phrase “a prohibited ground of discrimination” means that it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or groups of people on the grounds of (based on) race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, etc.

References …

External links

 

 

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Victor E. Frankl –Man’s Search for Meaning — Videos

Posted on June 15, 2019. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Chinese, Communications, Crisis, Culture, Environment, Essays, Faith, Family, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Literacy, Love, Mastery, media, Medicine, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Raves, Religion, Religious, Religious, Sleep, Speech, Success, Terrorism, Torture, Uncategorized, Video, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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What is the meaning of life? Is it possible to find happiness in the midst of suffering? What can you do to take responsibility for your destiny? These questions are answered in the book In Search of Meaning. Viktor Frankl recounts his survival experience in a Nazi concentration camp – and most importantly – how to make sense of life even if we find that we’re lost. The video today has two parts – in the first part, we’ll talk about life in the concentration camp. How was the daily life of those prisoners? In the second part of the video you’ll learn how to find meaning for your life in line with the teachings of the author of the book. If you’re a more sensitive person, go straight to minute 24:50 and jump directly to the second part.

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Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, wrote the famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, a description of his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps, in an attempt to describe the need for a profound and meaningful life.

2015 Personality Lecture 12: Existentialism: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard

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Viktor Frankl

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Victor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997), Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, devoted his life to studying, understanding and promoting “meaning.” His famous book,Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it. He went on to later establish a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy, based in the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances. Frankl pointed to research indicating a strong relationship between “meaninglessness” and criminal behaviors, addictions and depression. Without meaning, people fill the void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions. Some may also strive for Suprameaning, the ultimate meaning in life, a spiritual kind of meaning that depends solely on a greater power outside of personal or external control.

Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man (Frankl 1992, p. 104).

While Frankl rarely touches on the topic of the pursuit of happiness, he is very concerned with satisfaction and fulfillment in life. We can see this in his preoccupation with addressing depression, anxiety and meaninglessness. Frankl points to research indicating a strong relationship between “meaninglessness” and criminal behavior, addiction and depression. He argues that in the absence of meaning, people fill the resultant void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions (Frankl 1992, p. 143).

Frankl’s Background

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist who founded what he called the field of “Logotherapy”, which has been dubbed the “Third Viennese School of Psychology” (following Freud and Alder). Logotherapy developed in and through Frankl’s personal experience in the Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. The years spent there deeply affected his understanding of reality and the meaning of human life. His most popular book, Man’s Search for Meaning, chronicles his experience in the camp as well as the development of logotherapy. During his time there, he found that those around him who did not lose their sense of purpose and meaning in life were able to survive much longer than those who had lost their way.

Logotherapy

In The Will to Meaning, Frankl notes that “logotherapy aims to unlock the will to meaning in life.” More often than not, he found that people would ponder the meaning of life when for Frankl, it is very clear that, “it is life itself that asks questions of man.” Paradoxically, by abandoning the desire to have “freedom from” we take the “freedom to” make the “decision for” one’s unique and singular life task (Frankl 1988, p. 16).

Logotherapy developed in a context of extreme suffering, depression and sadness and so it is not surprising that Frankl focuses on a way out of these things. His experience showed him that life can be meaningful and fulfilling even in spite of the harshest circumstances. On the other hand, he also warns against the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures because of its tendency to distract people from their search for meaning in life.

Meaning

Only when the emotions work in terms of values can the individual feel pure joy (Frankl 1986, p. 40).

In the pursuit of meaning, Frankl recommends three different courses of action: through deeds, the experience of values through some kind of medium (beauty through art, love through a relationship, etc.) or suffering. While the third is not necessarily in the absence of the first two, within Frankl’s frame of thought, suffering became an option through which to find meaning and experience values in life in the absence of the other two opportunities (Frankl 1992, p. 118).

Though for Frankl, joy could never be an end to itself, it was an important byproduct of finding meaning in life. He points to studies where there is marked difference in life spans between “trained, tasked animals,” i.e., animals with a purpose, than “taskless, jobless animals.” And yet it is not enough simply to have something to do, rather what counts is the “manner in which one does the work” (Frankl 1986, p. 125)

Responsibility

Human freedom is not a freedom from but freedom to (Frankl 1988, p. 16).

As mentioned above, Frankl sees our ability to respond to life and to be responsible to life as a major factor in finding meaning and therefore, fulfillment in life. In fact, he viewed responsibility to be the “essence of existence” (Frankl 1992, 114). He believed that humans were not simply the product of heredity and environment and that they had the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for their own lives. This “third element” of decision is what Frankl believed made education so important; he felt that education must be education towards the ability to make decisions, take responsibility and then become free to be the person you decide to be (Frankl 1986, p. xxv).

Individuality

Frankl is careful to state that he does not have a one-size-fits all answer to the meaning of life. His respect for human individuality and each person’s unique identity, purpose and passions does not allow him to do otherwise. And so he encourages people to answer life and find one’s own unique meaning in life. When posed the question of how this might be done, he quotes from Goethe: “How can we learn to know ourselves? Never by reflection but by action. Try to do your duty and you will soon find out what you are. But what is your duty? The demands of each day.” In quoting this, he points to the importance attached to the individual doing the work and the manner in which the job is done rather than the job or task itself (Frankl 1986, p. 56).

Techniques

Frankl’s logotherapy utilizes several techniques to enhance the quality of one’s life. First is the concept of paradoxical Intention, wherethe therapist encourages the patient to intend or wish for, even if only for a second, precisely what they fear. This is especially useful for obsessive, compulsive and phobic conditions, as well as cases of underlying anticipatory anxiety.

The case of the sweating doctor

A young doctor had major hydrophobia. One day, meeting his chief on the street, as he extended his hand in greeting, he noticed that he was perspiring more than usual. The next time he was in a similar situation he expected to perspire again, and this anticipatory anxiety precipitated excessive sweating. It was a vicious circle … We advised our patient, in the event that his anticipatory anxiety should recur, to resolve deliberately to show the people whom he confronted at the time just how much he could really sweat.A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anxiety, he said to himself, “I only sweated out a little before, but now I’m going to pour out at least ten litres!” What was the result of this paradoxical resolution? After suffering from his phobia for four years, he was quickly able, after only one session, to free himself of it for good. (Frankl, 1967)

Dereflection

Another technique is that of dereflection, whereby the therapist diverts the patients away from their problems towards something else meaningful in the world. Perhaps the most commonly known use of this is for sexual dysfunction, since the more one thinks about potency during the sexual act, the less likely one is able to achieve it.

The following is a transcript from Frankl’s advice to Anna, 19-year old art student who displays severe symptoms of incipient schizophrenia. She considers herself as being confused and asks for help.

Patient: What is going on within me?

Frankl: Don’t brood over yourself. Don’t inquire into the source of your trouble. Leave this to us doctors. We will steer and pilot you through the crisis. Well, isn’t there a goal beckoning you – say, an artistic assignment?

Patient: But this inner turmoil ….

Frankl: Don’t watch your inner turmoil, but turn your gaze to what is waiting for you. What counts is not what lurks in the depths, but what waits in the future, waits to be actualized by you….

Patient: But what is the origin of my trouble?

Frankl: Don’t focus on questions like this. Whatever the pathological process underlying your psychological affliction may be, we will cure you. Therefore, don’t be concerned with the strange feelings haunting you. Ignore them until we make you get rid of them. Don’t watch them. Don’t fight them. Imagine, there are about a dozen great things, works which wait to be created by Anna, and there is no one who could achieve and accomplish it but Anna. No one could replace her in this assignment. They will be your creations, and if you don’t create them, they will remain uncreated forever…

Patient: Doctor, I believe in what you say. It is a message which makes me happy.

Discernment of Meaning

Finally, the logotherapist tries to enlarge the patient’s discernment of meaning in at least three ways: creatively, experientially and attitudinally.

a) Meaning through creative values

Frankl writes that “The logotherapist’s role consists in widening and broadening the visual field of the patient so that the whole spectrum of meaning and values becomes conscious and visible to him”. A major source of meaning is through the value of all that we create, achieve and accomplish.

b) Meaning through experiential values

Frankl writes “Let us ask a mountain-climber who has beheld the alpine sunset and is so moved by the splendor of nature that he feels cold shudders running down his spine – let us ask him whether after such an experience his life can ever again seem wholly meaningless” (Frankl,1965).

c) Meaning through attitudinal values

Frankl argued that we always have the freedom to find meaning through meaningful attitudes even in apparently meaningless situations. For example, an elderly, depressed patient who could not overcome the loss of his wife was helped by the following conversation with Frankl:

Frankl asked “What would have happened if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you.”

“Oh,” replied the patient, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!”

Frankl continued, “You see such a suffering has been spared her; and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving her and mourning her.” The man said no word, but shook Frankl’s hand and calmly left his office (Frankl, 1992).

Conclusion

Frankl’s surprising resilience amidst his experiences of extreme suffering and sadness speaks to how his theories may have helped him and those around him. As the alarming suicide and depression rates among young teenagers and adults in the United States continue, his call to answer life’s call through logotherapy may be a promising resource.

Bibliography

Frankl, Victor (1992). Man’s Search for Meaning. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Frankl, Victor (1986). The Doctor and the Soul. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Frankl, Victor (1967). Psychotherapy and Existentialism. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.

Frankl, Victor (1988). The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Frankl, Victor (2000). Recollections: An Autobiography. New York, NY: Perseus Books.

Recommended reading:

The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism (Touchstone Books)

The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy (Meridian)

Viktor Frankl

https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/viktor-frankl/

 

An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy

Meaning in life can help to improve resilience.

 

Getty / Ascent/PKS Media Inc.

 

A Brief History of Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was born March 26, 1905 and died September 2, 1997, in Vienna, Austria. He was influenced during his early life by Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, earned a medical degree from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1930. From 1940 to 1942, he was the director of the Neurological Department of the Rothschild Hospital, and from 1946 to 1970 was the director of the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology.

In 1942, Frankl was deported to a Nazi concentration camp along with his wife, parents, and other family members. He spent time in four camps in total, including Auschwitz, from 1942 to 1945, and was the only member of his family to survive. In 1945, he returned to Vienna and published a book on his theories, based on his records of observations during his time in the camps. By the time of his death, his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” had been published in 24 languages.

During his career as a professor of neurology and psychiatry, Frankl wrote 30 books, lectured at 209 universities on five continents, and was the recipient of 29 honorary doctorates from universities around the world. He was a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford, and his therapy, named “logotherapy,” was recognized as the third school of Viennese therapy after Freud’s psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler’s individual psychology. In addition, logotherapy was recognized as one of the scientifically-based schools of psychotherapy by the American Medical Society, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

 

Understanding Logotherapy

Frankl believed that humans are motivated by something called a “will to meaning,” which equates to a desire to find meaning in life. He argued that life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances, and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning. Taking it a step further, Frankl wrote:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.

This opinion was based on his experiences of suffering, and his attitude of finding meaning through the suffering. In this way, Frankl believed that when we can no longer change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.

 

Fundamentals of Logotherapy

“Logos” is the Greek word for meaning, and logotherapy involves helping a patient find personal meaning in life. Frankl provided a brief overview of the theory in “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

Core Properties

Frankl believed in three core properties on which his theory and therapy were based:

  1. Each person has a healthy core.
  2. One’s primary focus is to enlighten others to their own internal resources and provide them tools to use their inner core.
  3. Life offers purpose and meaning but does not promise fulfillment or happiness.

Methods of Finding Meaning

Going a step further, logotherapy proposes that meaning in life can be discovered in three distinct ways:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed.
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone.
  3. By the attitude that we take toward unavoidable suffering.

An example that is often given to explain the basic tenets of logotherapy is the story of Frankl meeting with an elderly general practitioner who was struggling to overcome depression after the loss of his wife. Frankl helped the elderly man to see that his purpose had been to spare his wife the pain of losing him first.

Basic Assumptions

Logotherapy consists of six basic assumptions that overlap with the fundamental constructs and ways of seeking meaning listed above:

1. Body, Mind, and Spirit

The human being is an entity that consists of a body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos). Frankl argued that we have a body and mind, but the spirit is what we are, or our essence. Note that Frankl’s theory was not based on religion or theology, but often had parallels to these.

2. Life Has Meaning in All Circumstances

Frankl believed that life has meaning in all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. This means that even when situations seem objectively terrible, there is a higher level of order that involves meaning.

3. Humans Have a Will to Meaning

Logotherapy proposes that humans have a will to meaning, which means that meaning is our primary motivation for living and acting, and allows us to endure pain and suffering. This is viewed as differing from the will to achieve power and pleasure.

4. Freedom to Find Meaning

Frankl argues that in all circumstances, individuals have the freedom to access that will to find meaning. This is based on his experiences of pain and suffering and choosing his attitude in a situation that he could not change.

5. Meaning of the Moment

The fifth assumption argues that for decisions to be meaningful, individuals must respond to the demands of daily life in ways that match the values of society or their own conscience.

6. Individuals Are Unique

Frankl believed that every individual is unique and irreplaceable.

 

Logotherapy in Practice

Frankl believed that it was possible to turn suffering into achievement and accomplishment. He viewed guilt as an opportunity to change oneself for the better, and life transitions as the chance to take responsible action.

In this way, this psychotherapy was aimed at helping people to make better use of their “spiritual” resources to withstand adversity. In his books, he often used his own personal experiences to explain concepts to the reader.
Three techniques used in logotherapy include dereflection, paradoxical intention, and Socratic dialogue.
  1. Dereflection: Dereflection is aimed at helping someone focus away from themselves and toward other people so that they can become whole and spend less time being self-absorbed about a problem or how to reach a goal.
  2. Paradoxical intention: Paradoxical intention is a technique that has the patient wish for the thing that is feared most. This was suggested for use in the case of anxiety or phobias, in which humor and ridicule can be used when fear is paralyzing. For example, a person with a fear of looking foolish might be encouraged to try to look foolish on purpose. Paradoxically, the fear would be removed when the intention involved the thing that was feared most.
  3. Socratic dialogue: Socratic dialogue would be used in logotherapy as a tool to help a patient through the process of self-discovery through his or her own words. In this way, the therapist would point out patterns of words and help the client to see the meaning in them. This process is believed to help the client realize an answer that is waiting to be discovered.
It’s easy to see how some of the techniques of logotherapy overlap with newer forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). In this way, logotherapy may be a complementary approach for these behavior and thought-based treatments.

 

Criticisms

Frankl was not without his critics. Some felt he used his time in the Nazi camps as a way to promote his brand of psychotherapy, and others felt his support came only from religious leaders in the United States (indeed, he did recruit ministers and pastoral psychologists to work with him).

In 1961, his ideas were challenged by psychologist Rollo May, known as the founder of the existential movement in the United States, who argued that logotherapy was equivalent to authoritarianism, with the therapist dictating solutions to the patient. In this way, it was felt that the therapist diminished the patient’s responsibility in finding solutions to problems. It is not clear, however, whether this was a fundamental problem of logotherapy, or a failing of Frankl as a therapist himself, as he was said to be arrogant in his manner of speaking to patients.

In this way, it may be that logotherapy argues that there are always clear solutions to problems and that the therapist has the task of finding these for the client. However, Frankl argued that logotherapy actually educates the patient to take responsibility. Regardless, it is clear that in the application of Frankl’s theories, it is important to highlight that the patient must be a participant rather than a recipient in the process.

 

Evidence

More than 1700 empirical and theoretical papers have been published on logotherapy, and more than 59 measurement instruments developed on the topic. While Frank’s early work involved case studies, this eventually evolved to include operationalization of concepts and estimates of clinical effectiveness. In other words, Frankl believed in empirical research and encouraged it.

A systematic review of research evidence pertaining to logotherapy conducted in 2016 found correlations or effects pertaining to logotherapy in the following areas or for the following conditions:

  • Correlation between presence of meaning in life, search for meaning in life, and life satisfaction, happiness
  • Lower meaning in life among patients with mental disorders
  • Search for meaning and presence of meaning as a resilience factor
  • Correlation between meaning in life and suicidal thoughts in cancer patients
  • Effectiveness of a logotherapy program for early adolescents with cancer
  • Effectiveness of logotherapy on depression in children
  • Effectiveness of logotherapy in reducing job burnout, empty nest syndrome
  • Correlation with marital satisfaction

Overall, not surprisingly, there is evidence that meaning in life correlates with better mental health. It is suggested that this knowledge might be applied in areas such as phobias, pain and guilt, grief, as well as for disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, substance abusepost-traumatic stress, and anxiety.

Frankl believed that many illnesses or mental health issues are disguised existential angst and that people struggle with lack of meaning, which he referred to as the “existential vacuum.”

 

Logotherapy in Everyday Life

How might you apply the principles of logotherapy to improve your everyday life?

  • Create something. Just as Frankl suggested, creating something (e.g., art) gives you a sense of purpose, which can add meaning to your life.
  • Develop relationships. The supportive nature of spending time with others will help you to develop more of a sense of meaning in your life.
  • Find purpose in pain. If you are going through something bad, try to find a purpose in it. Even if this is a bit of mental trickery, it will help to see you through. For example, if a family member is going through medical treatments for a disease, view your purpose as being there to support that person.
  • Understand that life is not fair. There is nobody keeping score, and you will not necessarily be dealt a fair deck. However, life can always have meaning, even in the worst of situations.
  • Freedom to find meaning. Remember that you are always free to make meaning out of your life situation. Nobody can take that away from you.
  • Focus on others. Try to focus outside of yourself to get through feeling stuck about a situation.
  • Accept the worst. When you go out seeking the worse, it reduces the power that it has over you.

A Word From Verywell

While concepts of logotherapy continue to be studied to this day, you aren’t likely to hear of people receiving this type of treatment directly. Rather, the components of logotherapy are more likely to be intertwined with other therapies or treatments.

https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-victor-frankl-s-logotherapy-4159308

Viktor Frankl

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Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl2.jpg
Born
Viktor Emil Frankl

26 March 1905

Died 2 September 1997 (aged 92)

Vienna, Austria
Resting place Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria, Old Jewish Section
Nationality Austrian
Education Doctorate in Medicine, 1925, Doctorate in Philosophy, 1948
Alma mater University of Vienna
Occupation Neurologist, psychiatrist
Known for Logotherapy
Existential analysis
Spouse(s) Tilly Grosser, m. 1941
Eleonore Katharina Schwindt, m. 1947
Children Gabriele Frankl-Vesely
Parent(s) Gabriel Frankl and Elsa Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997)[1][2] was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He survived TheresienstadtAuschwitzKaufering and Türkheim. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy“. His best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 24 different languages.[3] Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.[4]

Frankl has been the subject of criticism from several holocaust analysts[5][6] who questioned the levels of Nazi accommodation that the ideology of logotherapy has and Frankl personally willingly pursued in the time periods before Frankl’s internment, when Frankl voluntarily requested to perform unskilled lobotomy experiments approved by the Nazis on Jews,[7] to the time period of his internment, in what is hinted upon in Frankl’s own autobiographical account and later under the investigative light of biographical research.[8][9]

Contents

Life before 1945

Frankl was born in Vienna into a Jewish family of civil servants (Beamtenfamilie). His interest in psychology surfaced early. For the final exam (Matura) in Gymnasium, he wrote a paper on the psychology of philosophical thinking. After graduation from Gymnasium in 1923, he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. In practice he specialized in neurology and psychiatry, concentrating on the topics of depression and suicide. His early development was influenced by his contacts with Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, although he would diverge from their teachings.[3][4]

Physician, therapist

During part of 1924 he became the president of the Sozialistische Mittelschüler Österreich, a Social Democratic youth movement for high school students throughout Austria.[1]:59

Between 1928 and 1930, while still a medical student, he organized and offered a special program to counsel high school students free of charge. The program involved the participation of psychologists such as Charlotte Bühler, and it paid special attention to students at the time when they received their report cards. In 1931, not a single Viennese student committed suicide. The success of this program grabbed the attention of the likes of Wilhelm Reich who invited him to Berlin.[2][10][promotional source?][11][non-primary source needed]

From 1933 to 1937, Frankl completed his residency in neurology and psychiatry at the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital in Vienna. He was responsible for the so-called Selbstmörderpavillon, or “suicide pavilion”. Here, he treated more than 3000 women who had suicidal tendencies.[2][unreliable medical source?] In 1937, he established an independent private practice in neurology and psychiatry at Alser Strasse 32/12 in Vienna.[2]

Beginning with the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, he was prohibited from treating “Aryan” patients due to his Jewish identity. In 1940 he started working at the Rothschild Hospital, where he headed its neurological department. This hospital was the only one in Vienna to which Jews were still admitted. His medical opinions (including deliberately false diagnoses[12][better source needed]) saved several patients[example needed] from being euthanised via the Nazi euthanasia program.[citation needed] In December 1941 he married Tilly Grosser.[2][4]

Prisoner, therapist

On 25 September 1942, Frankl, his wife, and his parents were deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto in Occupied Czechoslovakia. This Ghetto which housed many of the Jewish middle class, as a “model community” was set up by the Schutzstaffel (SS) with the expressed purpose of fooling Red Cross representatives about the ongoing slave labor, the Holocaust, and, later, the Nazi plan to murder all Jews.[13] There, within the Cultural life of the Theresienstadt ghetto, Frankl worked as a general practitioner in a clinic and wrote and gave lectures. When his skills in psychiatry were noticed by the Nazis, he was assigned to the psychiatric care ward in Block B IV, establishing a camp service of “psychohygiene” or mental health care. He organized a unit to help camp newcomers to overcome shockand grief. Later he set up a suicide watch, assisted by Regina Jonas.[2][14]

On 29 July 1943, Frankl organized a closed event for the Scientific Society in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and with the help of the equally controversial Judenrat/Jewish collaborator Leo Baeck,[15][16] Frankl offered a series of lectures, including “Sleep and Sleep Disturbances”, “Body and Soul”, “Medical Care of the Soul”, “Psychology of Mountaineering”, “How to keep my nerves healthy?”, “Medical ministry”, “Existential Problems in Psychotherapy”, and “Social Psychotherapy”.[14] Biographers state that Frankl’s father Gabriel, starved to death at Theresienstadt,[17] by Frankl’s account he died of pulmonary edema and pneumonia.[2][4][14]

On 19 October 1944, Frankl, his wife Tilly, Regina Jonas and many others from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, where he was processed.[citation needed] On 25 October, Frankl is listed as arriving in the southern German Kaufering III, of XI labor camp,[17] which held up to 2,000 male prisoners in earthen huts, who upon its opening in June of that year, the prisoners were required to construct a transport route to connect underground aircraft factories, laying the infrastructure for the mass production of the world’s first jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 bomber destroyer, the Nazi response, to regain vital air supremacy, under the growingly unopposed effectiveness of Allied bombing upon the Nazi armament industry.[18][19][20]According to Frankl, his feats of physical initiative at this work camp were such that they did not go unnoticed and he was gifted “premium coupons” in late 1944.[17] According to Frankl’s autobiography, when infected with the ubiquitous typhoid,[2][4] he was allowed to leave the work camp and was offered a move to the so-called rest camp of Türkheim, prison records list his departure from Kaufering as 8 March 1945.[17] Frankl states that in Turkheim he was placed in charge of fifty men with typhus, it was here he rose to the position of “senior block warden” and began writing his book anew, until 27 April 1945, when the camp was liberated by American soldiers.[17]

Frankl’s mother Elsa and brother Walter were murdered at Auschwitz. Frankl’s wife was similarly transported out of Auschwitz and moved to Bergen-Belsen, a facility that housed a considerable number of women and minors, including Anne Frank, where they were forced to work in the shoe recycling labor camp; she would similarly be murdered, from the brutal conditions sometime close to the time of its liberation in 1945.[17] The only survivor of the Holocaust among Frankl’s immediate family was his sister, Stella, who had emigrated from Austria to Australia.[2][4]

Life after 1945

Liberated after several months in concentration camps, Frankl returned to Vienna, where he dictated to stenographer-typists his well known work, “the flood gates had opened”, completing the book, by 1946.[17] Frankl then published his world-famous book entitled, Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe Erlebt das Konzentrationslager (“Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp”), known in English by the title Man’s Search for Meaning (1959 title: From Death-Camp to Existentialism).[21] In this book, he described the life of an ordinary concentration camp inmate from the objective perspective of a psychiatrist.[4][22] Frankl believed that people are primarily driven by a “striving to find meaning in one’s life,” and that it is this sense of meaning that enables people to overcome painful experiences.

After enduring the suffering in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering is meaningful. This conclusion served as a basis for his logotherapy and existential analysis, which Frankl had described before World War II. He said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”[23]

Frankl’s concentration camp experiences shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook, as reflected in his seminal publications.

He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of Men to exist: decent ones and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. “Under such conditions, who could blame them for trying to dope themselves?” “These were the men who were employed in the gas chambers and crematoriums, and who knew very well that one day they would have to leave their enforced role of executioner and become victims themselves.”[22]

In 1946, he was appointed to run the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology. He remained there until 1971. In 1947 he married his second wife Eleonore Katharina Schwindt. She was a practicing Catholic and the couple respected each other’s religious backgrounds, going to both church and synagogue, and celebrating Christmas and Hanukah. They had one daughter, Gabriele, who went on to become a child psychologist.[2][4][24]

In 1948, Frankl earned a Ph.D. in philosophy. His dissertation, The Unconscious God, is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion.[25]

Grave of Viktor Frankl in Vienna

In 1955, he was awarded a professorship of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna, and as visiting professor, he resided at Harvard University (1961), at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (1966), and at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (1972). Frankl published 39 books, which were translated into as many as 49 languages.[26][promotional source?] He lectured and taught seminars all over the world and received 29 honorary doctoral degrees.[24]

The American Psychiatric Association awarded Frankl the 1985 Oskar Pfister Award for important contributions to religion and psychiatry.[27]

Frankl died of heart failure on 2 September 1997. He was survived by his wife Eleonore, one daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.[28]

Controversy

In The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle: A Reflection on the Odd Career of Viktor Frankl, Timothy Pytell of California State University, San Bernardino,[29] conveys the numerous discrepancies and omissions in Frankl’s “Auschwitz survivor” account and later autobiography, which many of his contemporaries, such as Thomas Szasz, similarly have raised.[8] In Frankl’s Search for meaning the book devotes approximately half its contents to describing Auschwitz and the psychology of its prisoners, suggesting a long stay at the death camp, however his wording is contradictory and to Pytell, “profoundly deceptive”, when rather the impression of staying for months, Frankl was held close to the train, in the “depot prisoner” area of Auschwitz and for no more than a few days, he was neither registered there, nor assigned a number before being sent on to a subsidiary work camp of Dachau, known as Kaufering III, the true setting of much of what is described in his book.[30][20][31]

On Frankl’s doctrine that one must instill meaning in the events in one’s life that work and suffering to find meaning, will ultimately lead to fulfillment and happiness. In 1982 the highly cited scholar and holocaust analyst Lawrence L. Langer, who while also critical of Frankl’s distortions on the true experience of those at Auschwitz,[32] and Frankl’s amoral focus on “meaning” that could just as equally be applied to Nazis “finding meaning in making the world free from Jews”,[33] would go on to write “if this [logotherapy] doctrine had been more succinctly worded, the Nazis might have substituted it for the cruel mockery of Arbeit Macht Frei“[“work sets free”, read by those entering Auschwitz].[34] With, in professor Pytell’s view, Langer also penetrating through Frankl’s disturbed subtext that Holocaust “survival [was] a matter of mental health.” Noting Frankl’s tone as almost self-congratulatory and promotional throughout, that “it comes as no surprise to the reader, as he closes the volume, that the real hero of Man’s Search for Meaning is not man, but Viktor Frankl” by the continuation of the very same distortions of reality and the fantasy of world-view meaning-making, that were so disturbingly, precisely what had preturbed civilization into the holocaust-genocide of this era and others, to begin with.[35]

Pytell later would remark on the particularly sharp insight of Langer’s reading of Frankl’s holocaust testimony, noting that with Langer’s criticism published in 1982 before Pytell’s biography, the former had thus drawn the controversial parallels, or accommodations in ideology without the knowledge that Victor Frankl was an advocate/”embraced”[36] the key ideas of the Nazi psychotherapy movement (“will and responsibility”[37]) as a form of therapy in the late 1930s. When at that time Frankl would submit a paper and contributed to the Göring institute in Vienna 1937 and again in early 1938 connecting the logotherapy focus on “world-view” to the “work of some of the leading Nazi psychotherapists”,[38] both at a time before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938.[39][40]

The origins of logotherapy, as described by Frankl, were therefore a major issue of continuity that Biographer Pytell argues were potentially problematic for Frankl because he had laid out the main elements of logotherapy while working for/contributing to the Nazi-affiliated Göring Institute. Principally Frankl’s 1937 paper, that was published by the institute.[40] This association, as a source of controversy, that logotherapy was palatable to National Socialism is the reason Pytell suggests, Frankl took two different stances on how the concentration-camp experience affected the course of his psychotherapy theory. Namely, that within the original English edition of Frankl’s most well known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, the suggestion is made and still largely held that logotherapy was itself derived from his camp experience, with the claim as it appears in the original edition, that this form of psychotherapy was “not concocted in the philosopher’s armchair nor at the analyst’s couch; it took shape in the hard school of air-raid shelters and bomb craters; in concentration camps and prisoner of war camps.” Frankl’s statements however to this effect would be deleted from later editions, though in the 1963 edition, a similar statement again appeared on the back of the book jacket of Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frankl over the years would with these widely read statements and others, switch between the claim that logotherapy took shape in the camps to the claim that the camps merely were a testing ground of his already preconceived theories. An uncovering of the matter would occur in 1977 with Frankl revealing on this controversy, though compounding another, stating “People think I came out of Auschwitz with a brand-new psychotherapy. This is not the case.”[17]

In the post war years, Frankl’s attitude towards not pursuing justice nor assigning collective guilt to the Austrian people for collaborating with or acquiescing in the face of Nazism, led to “frayed” relationships between Frankl, many Viennese and the larger American Jewish community, such that in 1978 when attempting to give a lecture at the institute of Adult Jewish Studies in New York, Frankl was confronted with an outburst of boos from the audience and was called a “nazi pig”.[39]

In 1988 Frankl would further “stir up sentiment against him” by being photographed next to and in accepting the Great Silver Medal with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria as a holocaust survivor, from President Waldheim, a controversial president of Austria who concurrent with the medal ceremony, was gripped by revelations that he had lied about his WWII military record and was under investigation for complicity in Nazi War crimes. Frankl’s acceptance of the medal was viewed by a large segment of the international Jewish community as a betrayal and by a disparate group of commentators, that its timing was politically motivated, an attempt to rehabilitate Waldheim’s reputation on the world stage.[41]

None of Frankl’s obituaries mention the unqualified and unskilled brain lobotomy and trepanation medical experiments approved by the Nazis that Frankl performed on Jews who had committed suicide with an overdose of sedatives, in resistance to their impending arrest, imprisonment and enforced labour in the concentration camp system. Operating without any training as a surgeon, Frankl would publish some of the details on his experiments, the methods of insertion of his chosen amphetamine drugs into the brains of these individuals, resulting in at times an alleged partial resuscitation, in 1942, prior to his own internment at Theresienstadt ghetto in September later in that year. Historian Günter Bischof of Harvard University, suggests Frankl’s voluntary request to perform lobotomy experiments could be seen as a way to “ingratiate” himself amongst the Nazis, as the latter were not appreciative of suicide being on arrest records.[17][9][32]

Legacy

Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis is considered the third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,[26][promotional source?] among the broad category that comprises existentialists.[42] For Irvin Yalom, Frankl, “who has devoted his career to a study of an existential approach to therapy, has apparently concluded that the lack of meaning is the paramount existential stress. To him, existential neurosis is synonymous with a crisis of meaninglessness”.[42]

He has coined the term noogenic neurosis, and illustrated it with the example of Sunday neurosis. It refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.[43] Some complain of a void and a vague discontent.[42] This arises from an existential vacuum, or feeling of meaninglessness, which is a common phenomenon and is characterised by the subjective state of boredom, apathy, and emptiness. One feels cynical, lacks direction, and questions the point of most of life’s activities.[42]

People without a meaning in their life are exposed to aggression, depression and addiction.[22]

Viktor Frankl once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast:

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.[44][45]

Decorations and awards

Bibliography

His books in English are:

See also

References …

External links[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

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Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

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Steven Pinker Books

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My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a b Yang, Charles (24 August 2000). “Dig-dug, think-thunk (review of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker)”London Review of Books22 (6): 33.
  39. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Stuff of Thought”. Harvard University. Archived from the originalon 9 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  40. ^ Levitin, D. J.; Tirovolas, A. K. (2009). “Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1156: 211–231. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04417.xPMID 19338510.
  41. ^ Perlovsky L. Music. Cognitive Function, Origin, And Evolution Of Musical Emotions. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2011;2(2):WMC001494
  42. ^ Abbott, Alison (2002). “Neurobiology: Music, maestro, please!”. Nature416: 12–14. doi:10.1038/416012a.
  43. ^ Cross, I. (1999). Is music the most important thing we ever did? Music, development and evolution. [preprint (html)] [preprint (pdf)] In Suk Won Yi (Ed.), Music, mind and science (pp 10–39), Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  44. ^ “Interview with Daniel Levitin”. Pbs.org. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  45. ^ Carroll, Joseph (1998). “Steven Pinker’s Cheesecake For The Mind”. Cogweb.ucla.edu. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  46. ^ Levitin, Daniel. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, New York: Dutton/Penguin.
  47. ^ Pinker, Steven (1997), How the Mind Works, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 342
  48. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 186
  49. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, pp. PS14
  50. ^ Pinker, Steven (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Allen Lane. p66
  51. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Decline of Violence”. IAI. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  52. ^ Horgan, John (October 3, 2011). “Will War Ever End? Steven Pinker’s new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: humankind”Slate.
  53. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  54. ^ Brittan, Samuel (22 October 2011). “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes by Stephen Pinker”The Spectator.
  55. ^ Coffman, Scott (28 September 2012). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our NatureCourier Journal. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013.
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  57. ^ Epstein, R. (October 2011). “Book Review”Scientific American.
  58. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  59. ^ Gray, John (21 September 2011). “Delusions of peace”Prospect Magazine. UK.
  60. ^ “Correspondence”. Claremont Review of Books. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  61. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Peterson, David. “Steven Pinker on the alleged decline of violence”International Socialist Review.
  62. ^ Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (2012-09-13). “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Volence”. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  63. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (3 October 2011). “Peace In Our Time: Steven Pinker’s History of Violence in Decline”The New Yorker.
  64. ^ Pinker, Steven (November 2011). “Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”.
  65. ^ Laws, Ben (21 March 2012). “Against Pinker’s Violence”Ctheory.
  66. ^ “The Big Kill – By John Arquilla”Foreign Policy. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 22 January2013.
  67. ^ Corry, Stephen. “The case of the ‘Brutal Savage’: Poirot or Clouseau?: Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong” (PDF). Survival International. Retrieved 30 May2014. (Summary at The myth of the ‘Brutal Savage’)
  68. Jump up to:a b “Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon”Point of InquiryCenter for Inquiry. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  69. Jump up to:a b West, Ed (17 August 2012). “A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ “PSYCHOANALYSIS Q-and-A: Steven Pinker” The Harvard Crimson Accessed 8 February 2006.
  71. ^ “The Science of Gender and Science: Pinker Vs. Spelke, A Debate”. Edge.org. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  72. ^ Pinker, Steven (2009-11-15). “Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective”The New York Times.
  73. ^ “Let’s Go to the Tape”The New York Times. 2009-11-29.
  74. ^ Burke, Brian (2010-04-22). “Steven Pinker vs. Malcolm Gladwell and Drafting QBs”. Advanced NFL Stats. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  75. ^ Steven Pinker’s “probabilistic” genes, David Shenk
  76. ^ Exchanges At The Frontier 2011“, BBC.
  77. ^ Human violence and morality http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/hgr.2015.7
  78. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304.
  79. ^ Davies, William (2018-02-14). “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better”The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  80. ^ “Steven Pinker Looks At The Bright Side”1A. Feb 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  81. ^ “Paloma Saenz on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  82. ^ “David on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  83. ^ “Does the Enlightenment Need Defending?”IAI TV – Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world’s leading thinkers. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  84. ^ “Steven Pinker: How Our Minds Evolved” by Robert Wright Archived 2005-12-30 at the Wayback MachineTime Accessed 8 February 2006.
  85. ^ “The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals” Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback MachineForeign Policy (free registration required) Accessed 2006-082-08
  86. ^ “Intellectuals”Prospect. 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  87. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2010)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. 69. Steven Pinker
  88. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. 48. Steven Pinker: For Looking on Bright Side
  89. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  90. ^ “Steven Pinker Receives Humanist of the Year Award”American Humanist Association. May 12, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  91. ^ “The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists”Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]

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Victor D. Hanson — Mexifornia: A State of Becoming and The Case for Trump — Videos

Posted on December 17, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Historian Victor Davis Hanson on why he supports Trump

Victor Davis Hanson – Mexifornia: A State of Becoming

May 31, 2003 – Mr. Hanson was interviewed about his book Mexifornia: A State of Becoming, published by Encounter Books. The book looks at the hybrid culture emerging in California and who benefits from different political stances. He responded to telephone calls from viewers.

Victor D. Hanson on Obama’s Last Year & the Problem w/ Elites in Society

Victor Davis Hanson — The New Old World Order

Victor Davis Hanson – Postmodern Ideologies Dismanteled

Victor Davis Hanson: How the left elite cheats the public

Victor Davis Hanson – Immigration Rhetoric vs Reality

Victor Davis Hanson – The 4 Groups that Benefit from Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hansen- Keynote Address: California at the Crossroads

 

The Case for Trump Hardcover – March 5, 2019

From an award-winning historian and regular Fox contributor, the true story of how Donald Trump has become one of the most successful presidents in history — and why America needs him now more than ever
 
In The Case for Trump, award-winning historian and political commentator Victor Davis Hanson explains how a celebrity businessman with no political or military experience triumphed over sixteen well-qualified Republican rivals, a Democrat with a quarter-billion-dollar war chest, and a hostile media and Washington establishment to become president of the United States — and an extremely successful president.
Trump alone saw a political opportunity in defending the working people of America’s interior whom the coastal elite of both parties had come to scorn, Hanson argues. And Trump alone had the instincts and energy to pursue this opening to victory, dismantle a corrupt old order, and bring long-overdue policy changes at home and abroad. We could not survive a series of presidencies as volatile as Trump’s. But after decades of drift, America needs the outsider Trump to do what normal politicians would not and could not do.

 

Victor Davis Hanson

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Victor Davis Hanson
Hanson giving a lecture at Kenyon College in May 2005

Hanson giving a lecture at Kenyon College in May 2005
Born September 5, 1953 (age 65)
Fowler, California, U.S.
Occupation Writer, historian, farmer
Subject Military history, history of ancient warfare, ancient agrarianismclassics

Victor Davis Hanson (born September 5, 1953) is an American classicistmilitary historian, columnist, and farmer. He has been a commentator on modern and ancient warfare and contemporary politics for National ReviewThe Washington Times and other media outlets. He is a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution. He chairs the Hoover working group on Military History and Contemporary Conflict as well as being the general editor of the Hoover online journal, Strategika. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College where he teaches an intensive course on world, ancient or military history in the autumn semester, as the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History since 2004.[1] Hanson is the author of Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power (2001), a New York Times best-selling book.

Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and was a presidential appointee in 2007–2008 on the American Battle Monuments Commission that oversees the cemeteries and monuments of U.S. war dead abroad. Hanson is a student of current affairs, particularly regarding the U.S. in the Middle East, national defense issues and illegal immigration. He is also a fifth-generation landowner, growing raisin plants on a family farm in Selma, California, where he resides, and is a commentator on social trends related to farming and agrarianism.

Early life, education and today

Hanson, who is of Swedish and Welsh descent, grew up on a family farm outside of Selma, California in the San Joaquin Valley and has worked there most of his life. His mother, Pauline Davis Hanson, was a lawyer and a California superior court and state appeals court justice, his father was a farmer, educator and junior college administrator. Along with his older brother Nels, a writer, and fraternal twin Alfred, a farmer and biologist, Hanson attended public schools and graduated from Selma High School. Hanson received his BA with highest honors in classics and general college honors, Cowell College, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1975[2] and his PhD in classics from Stanford University in 1980. He is a Protestant Christian.[3] He also won the Raphael Demos scholarship at the College Year in Athens (1973–74) and was a regular member of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, 1978–79.

Hanson is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor emeritus at California State University, Fresno,[4] where he began teaching in 1984, having created the classical studies program at that institution.

In 1991, Hanson was awarded an American Philological Association‘s Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin, and he was named distinguished alumnus of the year (2006) at University of California, Santa Cruz.[4] He has been a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991–92), a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992–93), an Alexander Onassistraveling fellowship to Greece (1999), as well as Nimitz Fellow at UC Berkeley (2006) and held the visiting Shifrin Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval AcademyAnnapolis, Maryland (2002–03), and often the William Simon visiting professorship at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University (2009–15), and was awarded in 2015 an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the graduate school at Pepperdine. He gave the Wriston Lecture in 2004 for the Manhattan Institute. He has been a board member of the Bradley Foundationsince 2015, and served on the HF Guggenheim Foundation board for over a decade.

Since 2004, Hanson has written a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content Agency,[5] as well as a weekly column for National Review Online since 2001, and has not missed a weekly column for either venue since he began. He has been published in The New York TimesWall Street JournalThe Times Literary SupplementThe Daily TelegraphAmerican Heritage, and The New Criterion, among other publications. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal (2007) by President George W. Bush, as well as the Eric Breindel Prize for opinion journalism (2002), and the William F. Buckley Prize (2015). Hanson was also awarded the Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award at its annual Churchill Dinner, and the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2008.[4]

Writing

Hanson’s Warfare and Agriculture (Giardini 1983), his PhD thesis, argued that Greek warfare could not be understood apart from agrarian life in general, and suggested that the modern assumption that agriculture was irrevocably harmed during classical wars was vastly overestimated. The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf 1989), for which John Keegan wrote the introduction, explored the combatants’ experiences of ancient Greek battle and detailed the Hellenic foundations of later Western military practice.

The Other Greeks (The Free Press 1995) argued that the emergence of a unique middling agrarian class explains the ascendance of the Greek city-state, and its singular values of consensual government, sanctity of private property, civic militarism and individualism. In Fields Without Dreams (The Free Press 1996, winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award) and The Land Was Everything (The Free Press 2000, a Los Angeles Times notable book of the year), Hanson lamented the decline of family farming and rural communities, and the loss of agrarian voices in American democracy. The Soul of Battle (The Free Press 1999) traced the careers of Epaminondas, the Theban liberator, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George S. Patton, in arguing that democratic warfare’s strengths are best illustrated in short, intense and spirited marches to promote consensual rule, but bog down otherwise during long occupations or more conventional static battle.

In Mexifornia (Encounter 2003)—a personal memoir about growing up in rural California and an account of immigration from Mexico—Hanson predicted that illegal immigration would soon reach crisis proportions, unless legal, measured, and diverse immigration was restored, as well as the traditional melting-pot values of integration, assimilation, and intermarriage.

Ripples of Battle (Doubleday 2003) chronicled how the cauldron of battle affects combatants’ later literary and artistic work, as its larger influence ripples for generations, affecting art, literature, culture, and government. In A War Like No Other (Random House 2005, a New York Times notable book of the year), a history of the Peloponnesian War, Hanson offered an alternative history, arranged by methods of fighting—triremes, hoplites, cavalry, sieges, etc.) in concluding that the conflict marked a brutal watershed event for the Greek city-states. The Savior Generals (Bloomsbury 2013) followed the careers of five great generals, arguing that rare qualities in leadership emerge during hopeless predicaments that only rare individuals can salvage.

The End of Sparta (Bloomsbury 2011) is a novel about a small community of Thespian farmers who join the great march of Epaminondas (369/70 BC) into the heart of the Peloponnese to destroy Spartan hegemony, free the Messenian helots, and spread democracy in the Peloponnese.

In addition, Hanson has edited several collected essays (Hoplites, Routledge 1991), Bonfire of the Humanities (with B. Thornton and J. Heath, ISI 2001), and Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton 2010), as well as a number of his own collected articles (An Autumn of War [2002 Anchor], Between War and Peace [Anchor 2004], and The Father of Us All [Bloomsbury 2010]). He has written a number of chapters for scholarly works such as the Cambridge History of War, and the Cambridge History of Ancient Warfare.

Carnage and Culture

Hanson is the author of the 2001 book Carnage and Culture (Doubleday), published in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries as Why the West Has Won, in which he argued that the military dominance of Western civilization, beginning with the ancient Greeks, results from certain fundamental aspects of Western culture, such as consensual government, a tradition of self-critique, secular rationalism, religious tolerance, individual freedom, free expression, free markets, and individualism. Hanson’s emphasis on cultural exception rejects racial explanations for Western military preeminence and disagrees as well with environmental or geographical determinist explanations such as those put forth by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997).[6]

According to Hanson, Western values such as political freedomcapitalismindividualismdemocracyscientific inquiryrationalism, and open debate form an especially lethal combination when applied to warfare. Non-Western societies can win occasional victories when warring against a society with these Western values, writes Hanson, but the “Western way of war” will likely prevail in the long run. Hanson emphasizes that Western warfare is not necessarily more (or less) moral than war as practiced by other cultures; his argument is simply that the “Western way of war” is unequaled in its emphases on devastation and decisiveness, fueled by superior technology and logistics.

Carnage and Culture examines nine battles throughout history, each of which is used to illustrate a particular aspect of Western culture that Hanson believes contributes to the dominance of Western warfare. The battles or campaigns recounted (with themes in parenthesis) are the Battle of Salamis (480 BC; free citizens), the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC; the decisive battle of annihilation), the Battle of Cannae (216 BC; civic militarism), the Battle of Tours/Poitiers (732; infantry), the Battle of Tenochtitlan (1521; technology and reason), the Battle of Lepanto (1571; capitalism), the Battle of Rorke’s Drift (1879; discipline), the Battle of Midway (1942; individualism), and the Tet Offensive (1968; dissent).

Though Carnage and Culture appeared before the September 11 attacks of 2001, its message that the “Western way of war” will ultimately prevail made the book a bestseller in the wake of those events. Immediately after 9/11, Carnage and Culture was re-issued with a new afterword by Hanson in which he explicitly stated that the United States government would win its “War on Terror” for the reasons stated in the book.

The American military officer Robert Bateman in a 2007 article on the Media Matters for America website criticized the Hanson thesis, arguing if Hanson’s point about Western armies preferring to seek out a decisive battle of annihilation is rebutted by the Second Punic War, where the Roman attempts to annihilate the Carthaginians instead led to the Carthaginians annihilating the Romans at the Battle of Cannae.[7] Bateman argued that Hanson was wrong about Western armies’ common preferences in seeking out a battle of annihilation, arguing that the Romans only defeated the Carthaginians via the Fabian Strategy of keeping their armies in being and not engaging Hannibal in battle.[7] In his first response, Hanson argued that Bateman was engaged in a “puerile, politically correct” attack on him, and accused Bateman of being motivated by current left-wing politics rather a genuine interest in history.[8] In a second response, Hanson called Bateman’s use of personal, adolescent invectives such as “pervert”, “feces”, and “devil”, as unprofessional and “unhinged”, and had no role in scholarly disagreements, accusing Bateman of being poorly informed of history and geography, as well as engaging in conduct unbecoming a U.S. Army officer.[9] Hanson declared that Bateman was incorrect about the Battle of Yarmoukarguing that the Golan Heights were at the edge of the Eastern Roman Empire, instead of being in the center as Bateman argued, and claimed that the Romans lost because of divided leadership rather than as a result of superior Islamic generalship as Bateman had contended.[9]

In his final responses, Hanson argued that Bateman was unfamiliar with any foreign language, did not understand the practice of translation or scholarly citation, and was utterly confused by basic issues of geography and history.

United States education and classical studies

Hanson co-authored the book Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom with John Heath. This book explores the issue of how classical education has declined in the US and what might be done to restore it to its former prominence. This is important, according to Hanson and Heath, because knowledge of the classical Greeks and Romans is necessary to fully understand Western culture. To begin a discussion along these lines the authors state, “The answer to why the world is becoming Westernized goes all the way back to the wisdom of the Greeks—reason enough why we must not abandon the study of our heritage”.[10]

Hanson and Heath, in their populist argument for a return to undergraduate teaching, fault the academic classicists themselves for the decline, accusing them of becoming so infected with political correctness and postmodern thinking, not to mention egoism and money-grubbing (grants, visiting professorships, conference-hopping, promotion based on unreadable publications), that they have lost sight of what Hanson and Heath feel the classics truly represent. They say it this way, “the study of Greek in the last twenty years became a profession, a tiny world—but a world of sorts nonetheless—of jets, conferences, publicity, jargon, and perks.”[11]

The political scientist Francis Fukuyama, reviewing Who Killed Homer? favorably in Foreign Affairs, noted,

The classicists Victoria Cech and Joy Connolly have found Who Killed Homer? to have considerable pitfalls. Reviews of the book have noted several problems with the authors’ perception of classical culture.

Per Victoria Cech, Director of Grants & Program Development,[13]

Per Joy Connolly, Professor of Classics at New York University,[15]

Political views

Hanson is a traditional conservative who voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 elections.[17]

He has been described as a neoconservative by some commentators, for his support of maintaining U.S. troops to rebuild society after successful military interventions,[18][19] and has stated, “I came to support neocon approaches first in the wars against the Taliban and Saddam, largely because I saw little alternative.”[20] In 2005, Hanson wrote of why he did not find the Democratic Party populist or reflective of its prior concerns: “The Democratic Party reminds me of the Republicans circa 1965 or so—impotent, shrill, no ideas, conspiratorial, reactive, out-of-touch with most Americans, isolationist, and full of embarrassing spokesmen.”[21]

More recently, Hanson has appeared to reject the term neoconservative, writing in a 2016 column “Hillary’s Neoliberals” that the term neoconservative was coined in the 1970s to describe liberals who moved right on social issues and on maintaining deterrence during the Cold War.[22] Hanson has critiqued the decision of several neoconservatives to declare their support for Hillary Clinton as preferable to Donald Trump on grounds that Clinton has a long history of abuse of office, and is mired in scandal over violations of national security statutes as well as influence peddling between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Hanson has attacked these neoconservatives as “neoliberals” who were never entirely proper conservative, arguing that these people had joined the Republican Party out of distaste for the Democratic Party, which had nominated as the presidential candidates George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976 as opposed to converting to conservatism.[22] Hanson ended his column that there were now two emerging factions in America—the proverbial ordinary Americans supporting Trump vs. the elites of both the Democratic and Republican parties supporting Clinton.[22] Hanson wrote: “A mostly urban, highly educated, and high-income globalized elite often shares more cultural and political affinities with their counterparts on the other side of the aisle than they do with the lower-middle and working classes of their own parties. Just as Hillary Clinton may feel more comfortable with the old neoconservatives, Trump supporters have little in common with either Clintonites or neocons. Clinton versus Trump is a war of NPRCBS, and the New York Times against the National Enquirerconservative talk radio, and the Drudge Report. Clinton supporters such as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, onetime Bush officials Hank Paulsonand Brent Scowcroft, and billionaire Meg Whitman certainly have nothing in common with Republican Trump supporters such as Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh. Culture, not just politics, is rapidly destroying—but also rebuilding—traditional political parties.”[22]

Hanson was a defender of George W. Bush and his policies,[23] especially the Iraq War.[24] He was also a vocal supporter of Bush’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Hanson wrote of Rumsfeld that he was: “a rare sort of secretary of the caliber of George Marshall” and a “proud and honest-speaking visionary” whose “hard work and insight are bringing us ever closer to victory”.[25]

On the issues pertaining to the constant political turmoil in the Middle East, Hanson emphasizes the lack of individual and political freedom, as well as transparency and self-critique, in many Middle Eastern nations as a major factor retarding economic, technological and cultural progress. He further relates the root cause of radical Islamic terrorism to insecurities resulting from a failure to achieve parity with the West, and a reactionary need to regain honor and pride.[26]

Iraq War

Hanson believed that the Iraq War, given the repeated serial violations by Iraq of UN sanctions, congressional mandates, and the threats that Saddam Hussein posed, in a post-9/11 climate, to the long-term security of the Middle East, was a necessary and worthwhile undertaking—and was, after a flawed occupation, eventually a laudable success that had led to a workable government in 2009 and relative calm in Iraq: analogous to the foundations of the successful American occupation of South Korea in the latter 1950s that led to the democratic society of today. However, he stated in 2008 that he, “… disagreed with many of the decisions made about the Iraq war,” such as the dissolution of the old Iraqi army.[20]

Hanson argued that the “surge” of 2007 had largely won the Iraq War by the beginning of 2009, and that rise of the Islamic State terrorist group which seized control of much of Iraq in mid-2014 was the result of what Hanson sees as the unwise withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq in December 2011, which he blames on the Obama administration.[27] Hanson argued that if only American troops had stayed in Iraq after December 2011, then the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would have been less sectarian and the Islamic State group would have never emerged.[28] Hanson argued that the December 2011 withdrawal from Iraq was motivated to help improve Obama’s chances of reelection in 2012, an act that he compared to being equivalent to the United States pulling its troops out of South Korea in 1955, arguing if only the Americans had stayed in Iraq, then that nation would have evolved into a Near Eastern version of South Korea.[29]

The U.S. and the world

In 2004, Hanson gave a mostly favorable review to the book Colossus by the British historian Niall Ferguson, where Ferguson argued that the United States should be an imperial power in the sense of preserving the post war order of global free trade, communications, and commerce, and the principal problem with Americans was that they were unwilling to embrace global leadership in the same way that people in 19th century Britain did.[30] Hanson found much to approve of in Ferguson’s book, writing: “In reality, we should be natural imperialists, given our wealth and expertise. Americans are also endowed with an exceptional moral sense. We are a generous people, whose checkered imperial interventions in the past rarely proved profitable or exploitive.”[30] Hanson agreed with Ferguson that the principal problem with Americans was an unease at playing the role of an imperialistic power, argued that post-1945 histories of Germany and Japan proved the beneficial results of American occupation and predicted that Iraq under American occupation would become just as much a prosperous and democratic society as Germany and Japan are.[30] Hanson praised Ferguson for his defense of the British Empire as a benevolent force and his thesis that the United States should play the same role in the world as the British Empire, writing: “Does Ferguson propose a new American liberal empire? In fact, he does almost, but not before noting that the British Victorians themselves got a bad rap as exploitive colonialists. In fact, the record of the 18th and 19th centuries prove exactly the opposite: Former and once-prosperous colonies, following autonomy, quickly turned into self-induced miseries, while Britain itself thrived as never before once free of these costly obligations. Empire turns out not to be a means of making money, but instead an idealist pursuit to keep sea lanes open, bullies at bay and nations trading rather than fighting. The world has been lucky to have the Americans fill this vacuum, inasmuch as the British once did a pretty good job of it as well.”[30] Hanson, well before the immigration and financial crises of the EU, also praised Ferguson for his very negative picture of the European Union as being both “busy triangulating with our enemies” and “running huge trade deficits with us as we supply their own security needs.” He appears to agree with Ferguson that Europe is undemocratic, and statist, but that with a population in decline and even worse entitlement overspending than the U.S., a more broken melting pot, and socialist response to these issues ensuring Europe will be unable generate the unity or idealism required to supplant the U.S.[30]

Israeli–Arab conflict

In his article Israel did it, Hanson asked why Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon war, was being blamed for responding to attacks by Hezbollah.[31] Hanson was critical of the Middle East policies of the administration of Barack Obama and accused the Obama administration of distancing itself from Israel, despite its exceptional position as a tolerant Western nation in the Middle East, and of preferring the Palestinian Authority and Hamas despite their being anti-Western.[32]

Race relations

Hanson has often argued that in a 21st-century multiracial America there is little overt racism on the part of whites, and that generic complaints of racism too often are automatic from an often privileged African-American elite that uses such charges of racism to advance careerist concerns not often synonymous with those in the inner city.[33] In reference to the Gates affair in which the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his home when a white policeman responded to a report of a possible break-in, Hanson argued that the policeman’s actions were understandable given that “… African-American males commit crimes at rates both higher than the general population’s, and at levels higher than other minority groups that likewise struggle with poverty and systemic unfairness.”[34]

In a 2012 column titled “The New Racial Derangement Syndrome”, Hanson argued again that class considerations now more often trump racial differences, and that racism in modern America is not confined to any one particular group, citing various statements by prominent African-Americans such as Morgan FreemanSamuel L. JacksonJamie FoxxChris Rock and Rob Parker that he saw as racially chauvinistic and often blatantly anti-white, and thus as signs of a new “racialist derangement” sweeping across black America that had set back considerable progress in making racial considerations prior to 2009 incidental rather than essential to an American citizen’s identity.[35] In a 2015 column titled “The Weariness of the Whiners”, Hanson illustrated the paradoxes of race and class, by citing the talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey‘s claim that she was a victim of racism when a clerk at the Trois Pommes boutique refused to show a $38,000 handbag to her.[33] In a 2016 column, “The New Segregationism”, Hanson lamented growing racial polarization, mostly on the part of elites who take refuge in racial chauvinism when their own careerist concerns are unmet. He used as an example of what he sees as the unlikelihood of the claim that there is anti-black racism in modern America in the complaint by the actor Will Smith that he was not nominated for an Oscar.[36]

Hanson has been critical of the group Black Lives Matter, which he maintains is a group based on “racial chauvinism” and “whining” which has told a “series of lies”—beginning with the “hands up don’t shoot” untruth in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown—about the supposedly statistically-proven epidemic of police killings of black men, the majority of which Hanson argued were found to be justified on the basis of current police practice and protocols.[37] Hanson claimed that responsibility for declining racial relations often rested with Barack Obama, whom Hanson suggested had deliberately inflamed racial tensions between whites and blacks, with a series of gratuitous and racially charged commentaries, dating from the 2008 campaign to editorializing about the Trayvon Martin killing case, as a way of securing the votes of black Americans for the Democrats.[38] Hanson faulted Obama for having “…systematically adopted a rhetoric and an agenda that is predicated on dividing up the country according to tribal grievances, in hopes of recalibrating various factions into a majority grievance culture. In large part, he has succeeded politically. But in doing so he has nearly torn the country apart. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that no other recent president has offered such a level of polarizing and divisive racial bombast.”[39]

Hanson has also been consistently critical of unchecked and unmonitored illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico and the Central American republics, which he sees as threatening to overwhelm the United States with millions of Spanish-speakers who make assimilation difficult and some of whom he charges have criminal records and do not establish a record of work history. In a 2014 column “1984 Redux: Orwellian Illegal Immigration” Hanson wrote that Hispanic groups that use the name La Raza are racialists who have “hijacked” America’s immigration policy to permit non-diverse, illegal, and unrestricted illegal immigration into the United States to further demographically-based political agendas, and who have made often false claims of suffering continual racial prejudice from a supposed prejudiced white majority, while arguing that Latinos as members of La Raza should keep themselves separate from the rest of Americans.[40] Hanson has condemned groups such as the National Council of La Raza as he argued that term La Raza has an unfortunate history as a “racialist term,” whose origins he claims go back to Francoist Spain of Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini‘s fascist Italy, and those Mexican-American leaders who self-identify with the Francoist term La Raza are themselves guilty of operating as racial separatists.[41] In this regard, Hanson has voiced qualified support for Donald Trump‘s plans to deport illegal immigrants from the United States, after offering a chance for green card residence to those who were vetted and found to have no criminal record, no history of public support, and residence of some duration. Blanket deportation policy, Hanson argued, would be as “unworkable”, as is the present open-borders status quo.[42]

Hanson is also opposed to the unvetted, and often illegal mass influx of mostly young male refugees from the war-torn Middle East into Europe, alluding to the resulting tensions in EU society by using premodern/postmodern allusions to H.G. Well’s 1895 novel The Time Machine that the millions of Muslims fleeing to Europe are the “Morlocks” (i.e. a fierce underclass) who will devour the Europeans who are “Eloi” (i.e. largely defenseless and overly refined creatures).[43] Hanson wrote that: “Europe’s immigration policy is a disaster—and for reasons that transcend the idiocy of allowing the free influx of young male Muslims from a premodern, war-torn Middle East into a postmodern, pacifist, and post-Christian Europe.”[43] Hanson has called the German Chancellor Angela Merkel “unhinged” for welcoming about a million refugees fleeing from the Syrian Civil War into her nation without plans to assimilate or integrate such numbers, instead of sending them to their countries of origin. Hanson has denied that all Syrians fleeing into Europe are refugees from the civil war, writing that uncharacteristically most refugees are “…young, single men from the Middle East who pour into Europe not as political refugees but as opportunists eager for European social largesse”.[44] Hanson wrote “Merkel’s disastrous decision to open the borders of Germany—and with them Europe’s as well—is proving both selfish and suicidal.”[44] Wether Hanson was talking about the continued uninterrupted traveling within the Schengen Area or the lack of enforcement of the external European Union border was unclear.

Along the same lines, Hanson has argued that history proves that multi-cultural societies have too often proved disastrous failures, and that only way of preventing a society from collapsing into tribal bloodbaths is a “common culture, one that artificially suppresses the natural instinct of humans to identify first with their particular tribe”.[39] As an example of what he sees as a law of history, Hanson wrote: “The Italian Roman Republic lasted about 500 years. In contrast, the multiracial Roman Empire that after the Edict of Caracalla in AD 212 made all its diverse peoples equal citizens endured little more than two (often violent) centuries.”[45] Along the same lines Hanson wrote in the 2016 column “Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos” that: “Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history”.[46] Hanson charged that the current celebration of diversity was destroying America and ended with the statement if the celebration of diversity did not end: “Otherwise, we will end up as 50 separate and rival nations—just like other failed states in history whose diverse tribes and races destroyed themselves in a Hobbesian dog-eat-dog war with one another.”[46] In a 2013 column titled “Western Cultural Suicide”, Hanson wrote: “Multiculturalism—as opposed to the notion of a multiracial society united by a single culture—has become an abject contradiction in the modern Western world… Western hosts lost confidence in the very society that gives us the wealth and leisure to ignore or caricature its foundations. The result is that millions of immigrants flock to the West, enjoy its material security, and yet feel little need to bond with their adopted culture, given that their hosts themselves are ambiguous about what others desperately seek out.”[47]

Writing about the murder of a British soldier by two Nigerian Muslims on the streets of London in May 2013, Hanson wrote the murder reflected what he viewed as cultural decline, stating: “In Britain, as in the West in general, deportation is a fossilized concept. Unity is passé. Patriotism is long suspect. The hip metrosexual cultures of the urban West strain to find fault in their inheritance, and seem to appreciate those who do that in the most cool fashion—but always with the expectation that there will be some poor blokes who, in terms of clean water, medical care, free speech, and dependable electricity, ensure that London is not Lagos, that Stockholm is not Damascus, and that Los Angeles is not Nuevo Laredo.”[47] Through acknowledging that in the early years of the American republic that to be American was to be white, Hanson argued that the “ultimate logic” of the American constitution led to the United States becoming a society where “multiracialism under one common culture” was the norm, but unfortunately in the late 20th century “multiculturalism, in which each particular ethnic group retained its tribal chauvinism and saw itself as separate from the whole” become the new norm.[45]

In July 2013, the Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech when he mentioned that as a black man the need to deliver “the Talk” to his children, namely he would have to inform his children that some, mostly white people who were going to hate them not because what they did, but simply because of their skin color. In response to Holder’s speech, Hanson wrote a column titled “Facing Facts about Race” where he offered up his own version (and others’) of “the Talk”, namely the need to inform his children to be careful of young black men when venturing into the inner city, who Hanson argued were statistically more likely to commit violent crimes than young men of other races, and that therefore it was understandable for the police to focus on groups with the highest statistical crime rates, which turn out to be young black males.[48]

Hanson wrote his father once had been robbed by young black men, and had given him “the Talk” warning his son to exercise caution in known crime-ridden areas and to note that African-American male youth have a far higher incidence of assault than other groups; and Hanson added that having been robbed himself by black men, he had given “the Talk” warning his children to avoid situations when in dangerous areas and to exercise caution there when encountering groups of young African-American men when alone, whom Hanson argue were statistically more likely to have had criminal records.[48] Hanson therefore criticized Holder and Obama for suggesting that racism may have been a factor in the trial of Hispanic George Zimmerman who had been charged and acquitted of murder with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—and especially for intruding in an ongoing criminal case before a jury had even been selected.[48] Hanson argued that Zimmerman was later found by a jury of his peers to be justified in shooting Martin in self-defense, and he suggested that Obama was alluding to racism being a factor in the case, to distract attention from his then unpopular presidency.[48]

Referring to the concurrent case at the time of two Vietnamese-Americans killed by a black convicted felon, Hanson wrote: “The world will long remember Trayvon Martin, but few people—and certainly not Barack Obama or Eric Holder, who have a bad habit, in an increasingly multiracial country, of claiming solidarity on the basis of race—will care that Khin Min and Lina Lim were torn to pieces by bullets and a knife. Few will care that they died in a vicious assault that had nothing to do with stereotyping, Stand Your Ground self-defense, weak gun laws, insufficient federal civil-rights legislation, or any of the other causes of interracial violence falsely advanced by the attorney general—but quite a lot to do with an urban culture that for unspoken reasons has spawned an epidemic of disproportionate violent crime on the part of young African-American males.”[48]

Criticism for his views on race relations

In response to “Facing Facts About Race”, the American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates accused Hanson of racism and stupidity.[49] Referring to Hanson’s “Talk”, Coates wrote: “Let us be direct—in any other context we would automatically recognize this “talk” as stupid advice. If I were to tell you that I only employ Asian-Americans to do my taxes because “Asian-Americans do better on the Math SAT,” you would not simply question my sensitivity, but my mental faculties. That is because you would understand that in making an individual decision, employing an ancestral class of millions is not very intelligent. Moreover, were I to tell you I wanted my son to marry a Jewish woman because “Jews are really successful,” you would understand that statement for the stupidity which it is … There is no difference between my argument above and the notion that black boys should be avoided because they are overrepresented in the violent crime stats. But one of the effects of racism is its tendency to justify stupidity.”[49]

The Anglo-American journalist Andrew Sullivan called Hanson’s column “spectacularly stupid”, writing: “Treating random strangers as inherently dangerous because of their age, gender and skin color is a choice to champion fear over reason, a decision to embrace easy racism over any attempt to overcome it”.[50] The American journalist Arthur Stern called “Facing Facts About Race” an “inflammatory” column based upon crime statistics that Hanson never cited, writing: “His presentation of this controversial opinion as undeniable fact without exhaustive statistical proof is undeniably racist.”[51] The Anglo-American journalist Kelefa Sanneh in response to “Facing Facts About Race” wrote that Hanson was wrong to claim that white and Asian-Americans were all victims of black criminals, writing: “It’s strange, then, to read Hanson writing as if the fear of violent crime were mainly a “white or Asian” problem, about which African-Americans might be uninformed, or unconcerned—as if African-American parents weren’t already giving their children more detailed and nuanced versions of Hanson’s “sermon,” sharing his earnest and absurd hope that the right words might keep trouble at bay.”[52]

The Anglo-American journalist John Derbyshire, who was fired from the National Review for writing a similar column in 2012 titled “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, came to Hanson’s defense, praising him for “spot-on observations” about race relations in modern America, through he argued that his column was much superior.[53] In “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, Derbyshire, who had earlier been criticized by Hanson on his advocacy for racial stereotyping well beyond the context of traveling in high crime areas, went well beyond what Hanson had advocated, telling his children not to live in cities with black mayors, never to help a black person in distress, to avoid all public gatherings with large numbers of black people and only have a few black people as friends to avoid allegations of prejudice.[54]Contra Coates, Derbyshire argued in support of Hanson that the best way to avoid being a victim of crime was: “..stay well clear of crowds of unfamiliar blacks. Might application of those rules leave someone with hurt feelings? Probably. So in this pan we have some stranger’s hurt feelings. In the other pan, we have our kids’ safety. What’s the beam doing, Ta-Nehisi?”.[53] Hanson in response to Sanneh’s essay accused him of a “McCarthyite character assassination” and “infantile, if not racialist, logic”.[55]

Confrontation with Iran

Hanson has argued that the U.S. may be forced to take a much more confrontational stance towards Iranian violation of prior nuclear enrichment prohibitions, advocating, if necessary, unilateral responses to the country should it continue its aggressive acts of war. On the Hugh Hewitt show in August 2007, Hanson stated, “We really need to start doing some things beyond talking, and if that is going into Iranian airspace, or buzzing Iranians, or even starting to forget where the border is and taking out some of these training camps, we need to do that and send a message, because they’re a paper tiger. They really are.”[56] In a 2014 column Hanson faulted the Obama administration for engaging in “appeasement” of Iran and of fruitlessly attempting to negotiate an end to the Iranian program to acquire nuclear weapons, predicating if Iran continued enrichment unchecked that: “Accordingly, it is more than likely that in the next two years Iran will become a nuclear power.”[57] As of November 2018, Iran is still not a nuclear power.

China

Hanson has argued that China is an increasingly aggressive power that is set upon eventually dominating East Asia. In a 2014 column titled “Is China copying the Old Imperial Japan?”, Hanson answered his question in the affirmative.[58] Hanson maintained that economically successful Asian nations without the deterrent power of the United States are naturally inclined to expansionism.[58] Hanson claimed that Japan, as a result of late nineteenth-century Meiji era reforms, had become powerful at the same time the United States had temporarily retreated into isolationism which allowed Japan to embark upon an imperialistic foreign policy; that the same thing was happening today with China and the United States under the leadership of Barack Obama.[58] Along these lines, Hanson has cited China for attempting to create its version of “Greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere”, which would incorporate all of East Asia.[59]

Russia

Hanson repeatedly accused President Barack Obama of engaging in “appeasement” of Russia. Hanson argues that Vladimir Putin is the embodiment of “eternal Russia”, an aggressively expansionist and anti-Western nation whose people are innately anti-democratic. In a 2012 column titled “History Never Quite Ends”, Hanson wrote: “From the czars to the Soviet Communists to Vladimir Putin’s cronies, there is something about constitutional government and liberal rule that bothers Mother Russia. The more that progressive outsiders seek to lecture or reform Russians, the more likely they are to bristle and push back with left-wing or right-wing nationalist strongmen. At present, we do not know whether there will be a Czar Vladimir, Comrade Putin, or Putin Inc. in charge, but we fear it does not matter much”.[60] Hanson depicts modern Russia in unflattering terms as “…a disaster of a declining population, corruption, authoritarianism, a warped economy, and a high rate of alcoholism.”[61] Precisely because Russia is so weak, Hanson claims that Putin is driven to aggression against his neighbors with the overwhelmingly support of the Russian people out of a sense of hurt pride and a desire to make Russia great again.[61] In 2014, Hanson called Putin “evil”, writing: “Putin is almost Milton’s Satan—as if, in his seductive evil, he yearns for clarity, perhaps even a smackdown, if not just for himself, for us as well. He is not the better man than Obama but, again like Milton’s Satan, the more interesting, if only because he reminds of us of our own limitations.”[62] In a 2015 column, Hanson wrote about what he views as the aims of Russian foreign policy that:

Hanson stated that Obama’s much heralded “reset” of relations with Russia in 2009 had “empowered” Putin and, in this way, Obama was responsible for the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2014.[28][62][63][64] In 2009, Hanson wrote about the “reset”: “…former Soviet republics understand that Russia’s Putin has a de facto green light to “readjust” their present-day, “ad hoc” borders—with President Obama about as clear on any future dispute as candidate Obama was about Georgia.”[65] In 2014, Hanson predicted that Russia might very well invade Estonia in the near future, stating: “Future targeted states, perhaps like Estonia, should understand that they are slated to play the 1939 role of Poland after the earlier Anschluss and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.”[66] In 2014, Hanson predicted that the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union, which Hanson calls the “Russian Union” would continue to grow, writing: “Soon the Russian Union could dwarf the European Union, as the former consolidates and the latter threatens to fragment.”[67]

In 2015, Hanson wrote:

In another 2015 column, Hanson wrote about he sees as Putin’s mindset that:

Hanson is opposed to the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war, which he argues is a part of a bid by Putin to construct an anti-American Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Iraqi alliance that will dominate the Middle East and intimidate the Gulf states.[70] Hanson has made the claim that the primary responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War was not due to Adolf Hitler, but was rather due to the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the French Premier Édouard Daladier who failed to maintain credible threats of deterrence.[71] Hanson has argued Obama has likewise failed to maintain a credible threat of deterrence, and as such, the world is on the verge of another war comparable to the Second World War.[71] Hanson has predicted that Putin will sometime in the near-future invade one or more of the Baltic states if the United States does not provide more deterrence to Russia.[72]

In 2017, Hanson wrote about the Russia–United States relations:

Works

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Davis_Hanson

 

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Philip K. Dick — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Ridley Scott — Blade Runner — Videos

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
DoAndroidsDream.png

Cover of first hardback edition
Author Philip K. Dick
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fictionphilosophical fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
1968
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 210
61,237 words[1]
OCLC 34818133
Followed by Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (retitled Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in some later printings) is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth’s life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning an animal is now a sign of status and empathy, an attitude encouraged towards animals. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner, and many elements and themes from it were used in its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049.

The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is tasked with “retiring” (i.e. killing) six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human and whether empathy is a purely human ability.

Synopsis

Background

In post-apocalyptic 1992 (2021 in later editions),[2] after “World War Terminus”, the Earth’s radioactively polluted atmosphere leads the United Nations to encourage mass emigrations to off-world colonies to preserve humanity’s genetic integrity. This comes with the incentive of free personal androids: robot servants identical to humans. On Earth, owning real live animals has become a fashionable status symbol, because of mass extinctions and the accompanying cultural push for greater empathy, which has coincidentally motivated a new technology-based religion called Mercerism. Mercerism uses “empathy boxes” to link users simultaneously to a virtual reality of collective suffering, centered on a martyr-like character, Wilbur Mercer, who eternally climbs up a hill while being hit with crashing stones. In terms of the owning of live animals, poor people can only afford realistic-looking electric imitations of animals. Rick Deckard, for example, owns a robotic black-faced sheep. The story also contains passing mention of “Penfield mood organs”, similar to mind-altering drugs in other Dick stories, and used as a technology for inducing any desired mood among people in its vicinity.

Plot summary

Bounty hunter Rick Deckard signs on to a new police mission in order to earn enough money to buy a live animal to replace his lone electric sheep, seeking greater existential fulfillment for himself and his depressed wife, Iran. The mission involves hunting down (“retiring”) six Nexus-6 androids that violently went rogue after their creation by the Rosen Association and fled Mars for Earth. Deckard visits the Rosen headquarters in Seattle to confirm the validity of a question-and-answer empathy test: the typical method for identifying any androids posing as humans. Deckard is greeted by Rachael Rosen, who quickly fails his test. Rachael herself attempts to bribe Deckard into silence, but he verifies that she is indeed a Nexus-6 model used by Rosen to attempt to discredit the test.

Deckard soon meets a Soviet police contact who turns out to be one of the Nexus-6 renegades in disguise. Deckard retires the android, then flies off to retire his next target: an opera singer android. However, he is suddenly arrested and detained at a police department he has never heard of by a police officer whom he is surprised never to have met. At this strange station, Deckard’s worldview is shaken when an official named Garland accuses Deckard himself of being an android. After a series of mysterious revelations at the station, Deckard ponders the ethical and philosophical questions his line of work raises regarding android intelligence, empathy, and what it means to be human. Phil Resch, the station’s resident bounty hunter, retrieves testing equipment to determine if his coworkers—including Deckard and Resch himself—are androids or humans. Garland subsequently reveals that the entire station is a sham, staffed entirely by androids, including Garland himself. Resch shoots Garland in the head, allowing him and Deckard to escape; together, they find the opera singer, whom Resch brutally retires in cold blood. Although Resch and Deckard are now collaborators, each still worries that he (or the other) might be an android. Deckard administers the empathy test to himself and to Resch, which confirms that Resch is a human being—simply a particularly ruthless one—and that Deckard is also human, but with a sense of empathy for the androids.

Only three of the Nexus-6 android fugitives remain, and one, Pris Stratton, moves into an apartment building whose only other inhabitant is John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged, intellectually below-average human classified as a “special.” The lonely Isidore attempts to befriend her. Roy and Irmgard Baty, the final two rogue androids, visit the building, and together they all plan how to survive. Meanwhile, Deckard buys Iran an authentic Nubian goat with his reward money. After quitting, Deckard is pulled back in after being notified of a new lead and experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission. Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her own knowledge as an android will aid his investigation. Rachael reveals that she and Pris are the same exact model, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but instead he abruptly leaves.

Isidore develops friendships with the three android fugitives, and they all watch a television program giving definitive evidence that Mercerism is a hoax. Roy Baty tells Isidore that the show was produced by androids to discredit Mercerism and blur the distinction with humans. Suddenly Deckard enters the building, with strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer appearing to both him and Isidore. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without previously testing them. Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen recently showed up and killed their goat.

Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill when he is hit by falling rocks and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom. Rushing back to his car, he stumbles abruptly upon a toad, an animal previously thought to be extinct, and one of the animals sacred to Mercer. With newfound joy, Deckard brings the toad home, where Iran quickly discovers it is just a robot. While Deckard is unhappy, he decides that he at least prefers to know the truth, making the remark that “the electrical things have their lives too, paltry as those lives are”.

Adaptations

Film

In 1982, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples wrote a loose cinematic adaptation that became the film Blade Runner, featuring several of the novel’s characters. It was directed by Ridley Scott. Following the international success of the film,[3] the title Blade Runner was adopted for some later editions of the novel, although the term itself was not used in the original.

Radio

As part of their Dangerous Visions dystopia series in 2014, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a two-part adaptation of the novel. It was produced and directed by Sasha Yevtushenko from an adaption by Jonathan Holloway. It stars James Purefoy as Rick Deckard and Jessica Raine as Rachael Rosen.[4] The episodes were originally broadcast on Sunday 15 June and 22 June 2014.

Audiobook

The novel has been released in audiobook form at least twice. A version was released in 1994 that featured Matthew Modine and Calista Flockhart.

A new audiobook version was released in 2007 by Random House Audio to coincide with the release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. This version, read by Scott Brick, is unabridged and runs approximately 9.5 hours over eight CDs. This version is a tie-in, using the Blade Runner: The Final Cut film poster and Blade Runner title.[5]

Theater

A stage adaptation of the book, written by Edward Einhorn, ran from November 18 to December 10, 2010 at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York[6] and made its West Coast Premiere on September 13, playing until October 10, 2013 at the Sacred Fools Theater Company in Los Angeles.[7]

Comic books

BOOM! Studios published a 24-issue comic book limited series based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? containing the full text of the novel illustrated by artist Tony Parker.[8] The comic garnered a nomination for “Best New Series” from the 2010 Eisner Awards.[9]In May 2010 BOOM! Studios began serializing an eight issue prequel subtitled Dust To Dust and written by Chris Roberson and drawn by Robert Adler.[10] The story took place in the days immediately after World War Terminus.[11]

Sequels

Three novels intended to serve as sequels to both Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner have been published:

These official and authorized sequels were written by Dick’s friend K. W. Jeter.[12] They continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to reconcile many of the differences between the novel and the 1982 film.

Critical reception

Critical reception of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has been overshadowed by the popularity of its 1982 film adaptation, Blade Runner. Of those critics who focus on the novel, several nest it predominantly in the history of Philip K. Dick‘s body of work. In particular, Dick’s 1972 speech “The Human and the Android” is cited in this connection. Jill Galvan[13] calls attention to the correspondence between Dick’s portrayal of the narrative’s dystopian, polluted, man-made setting and the description Dick gives in his speech of the increasingly artificial and potentially sentient or “quasi-alive” environment of his present. Summarizing the essential point of Dick’s speech, Galvan argues,”[o]nly by recognizing how [technology] has encroached upon our understanding of ‘life’ can we come to full terms with the technologies we have produced” (414). As a “bildungsroman of the cybernetic age,” Galvan maintains, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? follows one person’s gradual acceptance of the new reality. Christopher Palmer[14] emphasizes Dick’s speech to bring to attention the increasingly dangerous risk of humans becoming “mechanical”.[15] “Androids threaten reduction of what makes life valuable, yet promise expansion or redefinition of it, and so do aliens and gods”.[15] Gregg Rickman[16] cites another, earlier and lesser known Dick novel that also deals with androids, We Can Build You, asserting that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? can be read as a sequel.

In a departure from the tendency among most critics to examine the novel in relation to Dick’s other texts, Klaus Benesch[17] examined Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? primarily in connection with Lacan’s essay on the mirror stage. There, Lacan claims that the formation and reassurance of the self depends on the construction of an Other through imagery, beginning with a double as seen in the mirror. The androids, Benesch argues, perform a doubling function similar to the mirror image of the self, but they do this on a social, not individual, scale. Therefore, human anxiety about androids expresses uncertainty about human identity and society. Benesch draws on Kathleen Woodward’s[18] emphasis on the body to illustrate the shape of human anxiety about an android Other. Woodward asserts that the debate over distinctions between human and machine usually fails to acknowledge the presence of the body. “If machines are invariably contrived as technological prostheses that are designed to amplify the physical faculties of the body, they are also built, according to this logic, to outdo, to surpass the human in the sphere of physicality altogether”.[19]

Awards and honors

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Text Stats”Amazon.com. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Note: This change counteracts a problem common to near-future stories, where the passage of time overtakes the period in which the story is set; for a list of other works that have fallen prey to this phenomenon, see the List of stories set in a future now past.
  3. Jump up^ Sammon, Paul M (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. pp. 318–329. ISBN 0-06-105314-7.
  4. Jump up^ “BBC Radio 4 – Dangerous Visions, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Episode 2”bbc.co.ukBBC Radio 4. 28 Jun 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) by Philip K. Dick – Unabridged Compact Disc Random House, November 27, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7393-4275-6 (0-7393-4275-4).
  6. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Untitled Theater Company #61. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”Sacred Fools Theater Company. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Philip K. Dick Press Release – BOOM! ANNOUNCES DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? ArchivedSeptember 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Jump up^ Heller, Jason (April 9, 2010). “Eisner Award nominees announced”. The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  10. Jump up^ Langshaw, Mark. “BOOM! expands on ‘Blade Runner’ universe”. Digital Spy.
  11. Jump up^ “BOOM! Studios publishes ‘Electric Sheep’ prequel”. Tyrell-corporation.pp.se. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  12. Jump up^ Jeter, K. W. “Summary Bibliography: K. W. Jeter”.
  13. Jump up^ Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Postman Collective: Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Science Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429.
  14. Jump up^ Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 259.
  15. Jump up to:a b Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 225.
  16. Jump up^ Rickman, Gregg (1995). “What Is This Sickness?”: “Schizophrenia” and We Can Build You. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 143–157.
  17. Jump up^ Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg as Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3 Body/Art): 379–392.
  18. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. pp. 75–107.
  19. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. p. 391.
  20. Jump up^ “1968 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-27.

Further reading

Criticism
  • Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg As Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3): 379–392. JSTOR 41157479.
  • Butler, Andrew M. (1991). “Reality versus Transience: An Examination of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner“. In Merrifield, Jeff. Philip K. Dick: A Celebration (Programme Book). Epping Forest College, Loughton: Connections.
  • Gallo, Domenico (2002). “Avvampando gli angeli caddero: Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick e il cyberpunk”. In Bertetti; Scolari. Lo sguardo degli angeli: Intorno e oltre Blade Runner (in Italian). Torino: Testo & Immagine. pp. 206–218. ISBN 88-8382-075-4.
  • Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Posthuman Collective in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Science-Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429. JSTOR 4240644.
  • McCarthy, Patrick A. (1999–2000). “Do Androids Dream of Magic Flutes?”. Paradoxa5 (13–14): 344–352.
  • Niv, Tal (2014). “The Return of a Terrifying and Wonderful Creation On Our Future and Our Present”Haaretz. (Hebrew) Critical analysis of the 2014 edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

External links

 

Philip K. Dick

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Philip K. Dick
PhilipDick.jpg
Born Philip Kindred Dick
December 16, 1928
ChicagoIllinois, United States
Died March 2, 1982 (aged 53)
Santa Ana, California, United States
Pen name
  • Richard Phillipps
  • Jack Dowland
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist
Nationality US
Period 1952–1982
Genre Science fictionparanoid fictionphilosophical fiction
Literary movement Postmodernism
Notable works
Children 3

Signature

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolisticcorporations, alternative universesauthoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of realityidentitydrug abuseschizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.

Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success.[1] His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castleearned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.[2] He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel.[3] Following a series of religious experiences in February 1974, Dick’s work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981).[4] A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.

Dick’s writing produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.[5]

A variety of popular films based on Dick’s works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

In 2005, Time named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923.[6] In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.[7][8][9][10]

Early life

Philip Kindred Dick and his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, were born six weeks prematurely on December 16, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (née Kindred; 1900–1978) and Joseph Edgar Dick (1899–1985), who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture.[11][12] His paternal grandparents were Irish.[13] The death of Jane six weeks later, on January 26, 1929, profoundly affected Philip’s life, leading to the recurrent motif of the “phantom twin” in his books.[11]

His family later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. When Philip was five, his father was transferred to Reno, Nevada; when Dorothy refused to move, she and Joseph divorced. Both parents fought for custody of Philip, which was awarded to the mother. Dorothy, determined to raise Philip alone, took a job in Washington, D.C., and moved there with her son. Philip was enrolled at John Eaton Elementary School (1936–1938), completing the second through fourth grades. His lowest grade was a “C” in Written Composition, although a teacher remarked that he “shows interest and ability in story telling”. He was educated in Quaker schools.[14] In June 1938, Dorothy and Philip returned to California, and it was around this time that he became interested in science fiction.[15] Dick stated that he read his first science fiction magazine, Stirring Science Stories in 1940 at the age of 12.[15]

Dick attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He and fellow science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin were members of the same graduating class (1947) but did not know each other at the time. After graduation, he briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley, (September 1949 to November 11, 1949) with an honorable dismissal granted January 1, 1950. Dick did not declare a major and took classes in history, psychology, philosophy, and zoology. Through his studies in philosophy, he believed that existence is based on internal human perception, which does not necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as “an acosmic panentheist,” believing in the universe only as an extension of God.[16] After reading the works of Plato and pondering the possibilities of metaphysical realms, Dick came to the conclusion that, in a certain sense, the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether it is truly there. This question from his early studies persisted as a theme in many of his novels. Dick dropped out because of ongoing anxiety problems, according to his third wife Anne’s memoir. She also says he disliked the mandatory ROTC training. At Berkeley, Dick befriended poet Robert Duncan and poet and linguist Jack Spicer, who gave Dick ideas for a Martian language. Dick claimed to have hosted a classical music program on KSMO Radio in 1947.[17] From 1948 to 1952, Dick worked at Art Music Company, a record store on Telegraph Avenue.

Career

Early writing

Dick’s novelette “The Defenders” was the cover story for the January 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Dick’s short story “The World She Wanted” took the cover of the May 1953 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly

Dick’s novel The Cosmic Puppetsoriginally appeared in the December 1956 issue of Satellite Science Fictionas “A Glass of Darkness”

Dick sold his first story in 1951, and from then on wrote full-time. During 1952 his first speculative fiction publications appeared in July and September numbers of Planet Stories, edited by Jack O’Sullivan, and in If and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that year.[18] His debut novel was Solar Lottery, published in 1955 as half of Ace Double #D-103 alongside The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett.[18] The 1950s were a difficult and impoverished time for Dick, who once lamented, “We couldn’t even pay the late fees on a library book.” He published almost exclusively within the science fiction genre, but dreamed of a career in mainstream fiction.[19] During the 1950s he produced a series of non-genre, relatively conventional novels. In 1960 he wrote that he was willing to “take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer”. The dream of mainstream success formally died in January 1963 when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency returned all of his unsold mainstream novels. Only one of these works, Confessions of a Crap Artist, was published during Dick’s lifetime.

In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle.[2] Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote:

Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don’t agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn’t raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I’m a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love.

Flight to Canada and suicide attempt

In 1971, Dick’s marriage to Nancy Hackett broke down, and she moved out of their house in Santa Venetia, California. Having struggled with amphetamine abuse for much of the past decade (stemming in part from his need to maintain a prolific writing regimen due to the financial exigencies of the science fiction field), he allowed other drug users to move into the house. Following the release of 21 novels between 1960 and 1970, these developments were exacerbated by unprecedented periods of writer’s block, with Dick ultimately failing to publish new fiction until 1974.[20]

One day in November, Dick returned to his home to discover that it had been burglarized, with his safe blown open and personal papers missing. The police were unable to determine the culprit, and even suspected Dick of having done it himself.