Why Millennials Can’t be Happy 

Simon Sinek explores the reasons why Millenials are getting a bad reputation. From growing up with a toxic addiction to social media to the sense of entitlement which is cultivated in today’s youth through instant gratification and pampering.

This talk is a riveting insight into the potential damage of overuse of social media at a young age and poses some stark questions about how young people today will cope with the harshness of the working world.

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Why Watching Vlogs Can Destroy Your Mental Health

Vlogging (video-blogging) and vloggers have taken the internet by storm and garnered massive followings across social media. However this video questions whether they are both corrosive for the creator and the audience.

Vlogs, while presented as organic diary entries of a person’s life are always artificial. They are edited and tailored to an audience and not an accurate presentation of one’s actual life.

The danger, especially for younger people, is expecting their own lives to be as exciting of that as the vlogger and feeling depressed and inadequate in comparison. Vlogs can be really valuable, inspiring and entertaining but it is fundamental that we realise that they are performances and give an exaggerated example of someones actual life.

This is an emerging topic and something definitely worth thinking about.

Why You Are Addicted to Social Media (It’s no Accident)

Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School discusses the basic biology behind social media attachment.

Highlighting the psychological impulses based on the element of surprise, not knowing what’s going to happen next as well as the gratification involved with sharing and having posts ‘liked’.

This is a riveting biological and psychological assessment which is important to understand in the smartphone age.

A full Transcript can be found here:

http://bigthink.com/videos/tim-wu-on-the-psychology-behind-email-addiction

 

Why Public Confidence in Institutions is Eroding – Stanford Professor

Stanford Law & Political Science professor Francis Fukuyama discusses the ways in which the institutions of the 20th century Churches, Political Parties & Corporations have lost the trust of the general public.

Recognizing the significance of technology, Fukuyama argues this has made the malpractices from institutions more visible and accessible to the public. He further ponders the consequences of instant media on societal cohesion.

Can institutions regain our trust? Or what must happen to prevent societal breakdown and a post truth age?

When The Truth Becomes Boring

“The People of this country.. have had enough of experts”

The stunning words of Conservative MP and poster boy of the Vote Leave campaign Michael Gove when pressed on why organizations and governments were bashing his promises of a prosperous Post-Brexit Britain. His comment, while dramatic was certainly not surprising. The entire mantra of the Leave Campaign was not about facts or data but about us, about you, the “decent” “hardworking” “ordinary” people taking back control from the big boy fat cats who have trodden and left you in the dirt.

The anger at the ruling class, once whipped into frenzy by Boris and Co was directed with pinpoint precision at the E.U “Turkey is joining the EU”, “£350M to Brussels every week”. These questionable soundbites gave vent for anger, flooded the discourse and resonated with people in a way explaining the benefits of Free Movement of Goods, EU subsidies and net benefit of migration never could. It was the first piece of concrete evidence that ‘just trust your gut’ politics has made it mainstream in the UK.

Historically, since the era of the enlightenment, we as humans have developed and relied upon safeguards to provide reference point by which we can somewhat objectively agree on what is true and accurate. These include schools, science, legal systems, the media etc.
And while not perfect or always correct, this truth-producing infrastructure provides solid ground from which public discourse and debate can flow from.

Yet, there is substantial evidence to suggest – exemplified by both the U.S general election & Brexit – that we are shifting to a kind of politics in which feelings and emotions trump facts and truth.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prizewinning psychologist and author of a bestselling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, says we have a natural tendency to steer clear of facts that would force our brains to work harder. People will not want to investigate questionable sweeping statements or assertions if it requires lengthy contemplation and concentration to comprehend a complex issue.

Tyranny of the Anecdote

This poses a potentially deadly threat to societal cohesion. How can we solve society’s problems if we have no common truth-providing infrastructure from which to agree on?
For example, dealing with the problems of delays and overcrowding in the NHS. There has been debate over whether immigration or a severe lack of government funding is the primary reason for its misgivings. How do we know what the root cause of the problem is? Do we look at a report by the National Care Commission or listen to a story from our grandmother that she couldn’t get a GP appointment living in an area of high immigration?

There is growing number of pundits and politicians telling us to choose the latter. This is what American comedian, Stephen Colbert describes as believing things that “feel right” or things that “should be true”.

Donald Trump is the epitome of this, notoriously describing Climate Change as a hoax created by the Chinese. And it’s impossible to rebut this ridiculous argument when his followers either don’t care about the facts or believe in a conspiracy that the science is manufactured to serve the elites.

The Economist notes:

‘“A lot of people are saying…” is one of Donald Trump’s favourite phrases and questioning the provenance, rather than accuracy, of anything that goes against him (“They would say that, wouldn’t they?”). And when the distance between what feels true and what the facts say grows too great, it can always be bridged with a handy conspiracy theory.’

#SocialMedia
And social media has become the bread to the conspiracy butter. While having many upsides and benefits, it has enabled people of like-mindedness to filter out news and media which does not align with their personal and political beliefs. One can follow news that never challenges but only reinforces their ideas about the world and tailors a narrative of events to suit its audience. Thus, once established the online community can be far more potent and important to people than their geographical one.

The priority of democratic nations therefore, must be in developing our institutions to cope and be trusted by all in the Internet age. Having a well informed public is unequivocally a common good and the issue must be treated with the sincerity it deserves.

Until now, politics, media and truth producing infrastructure have had to adapt to the structures of Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms. Often being tangled in a malaise of memes and cat videos. Perhaps having a separation between the “social” and the “news” media would be an appropriate place to start?
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Questioning War, Conflict & Violence

 

Author: Haile Lagi

Note: this posts covers some heavy topics, but I think you can handle it 🙂

It’s sometime around 6.00 pm, my dad just bought a new phone, my brother & I somehow simultaneously came to an epiphany of sorts, there’s an “unclaimed item” present in the home (it’s the free accessories that comes with every phone and our parents never use), see we ruined both of our earbuds and we both knew one of us was getting it, before you know it my brother shouts “dibs” but there is no way I’m giving up that easy, I haven’t listened to music in weeks…

I rush to the package and we start wrestling for it, he pins me, I counter, I pin, he counters and we both go on for a while, destroying the room before we decide without speaking this is getting us no where, we sit down and start to verbally argue – this is the bit that gets interesting – we were arguing for hours over the concept of what “dibs” means and the consequences that followed. For those unaware of what this popular and rather childish phrase means:

download

The importance of this episode presents itself in a disguised manner. As I reflected on what exactly we were arguing about, it dawned on me the array of fundamental concepts that were involved: Ideas of ownership, finite resources, supply and demand, economic systems, ethics and the sources of conflict.

Our argument further explored concepts of logic, validity of statements, the fallibility of memory, belief and justification. This seemingly trivial discussion of who gets what really struck a chord with me when I contemplated the cause of our wrestling match. One thing we talked about made a lot of sense, the purpose of the wrestling match was to decide whose will triumphed over the other. Seemingly obvious, but again extremely important.

Then I started to think that desire whatever it maybe and more importantly the ability to realize that desire is a major cause of inequality. Not necessarily as the direct cause but rather as a consequence of that inequality. Inequality creates strife, either by trying to right this wrong or trying to accept it, both create violence. Yet, I’m only suggesting a correlation not necessarily confining violence to inequality. To understand what causes all conflicts is tricky but I can’t help myself from asking why do war, violence and struggle exist?

It’s not the first time this question has been asked, for millennia this has haunted societies thinkers. Personally, I’ve experienced these things all around me growing up. From trivial disagreements and fights amongst my peers, to riots, bombings, people being burnt and killed, gunfire seemingly unending. I’ve seen the destruction and aftermath of violence in my home town, that was at one point declared in a “state of emergency” the feeling of not being in control of what was happening around me, being helpless, running away from my home for fear of being killed, seeing deadbodies and not fully realizing how fragile my existence was.

The reasons are many why these things happened, socioeconomic class divisions, religious intolerance, tribalism, bigotry, political social engineering, twisted ideologies, and many other reasons are causes. I believe these are symptoms of strife itself, the desire for equality, power, honor, fear, whatever reasons that are justified in a person’s mind, whatever cause that leads to action. I’m not interested in this cause or that cause and their reasons or justifications for “good” or “evil”. I’m looking for something abstract, the cause of the causes themselves.

Suppose an apparent paradox I heard from a fictional character:

y

 

To answer yes or no would be irrelevant, evil would remain. I bring up this paradox to illustrate what I understand to be the nature of conflict, it’s more contradiction than paradox. Perceived necessity causes most conflict, and this necessity is the irrationality that is the world (this is an existentialist phrase) and to eliminate conflict would be to eliminate it’s causation.

We do not desire conflict… Not really. It’s a means, a way to achieve whatever goal. And this goal (or desire or will) may be is to eliminate another conflict and in doing so conflict is needed. This is why conflict seems to constantly recreate itself through desire even if the desire is to destroy it.

Having a will is not necessarily a bad thing, not only can we not simply stop wanting things, we should want things, it’s the fundamental drive to creating the greatest works of art, achieve amazing feats in diverse disciplines, it’s us, that wish to cure cancer, that cute girl you like, all of humanity is contained in its will. Our desire is all we really have. But what I am saying is the things we desire as result of necessity can create violence, it’s not that we intentionally create it but that it’s created as a result of human nature. So you might think, it’s all the world’s fault eh?

Well not exactly, when I say the “world” or the “irrationality of the world” I’m not necessarily talking about a specific thing, it’s more of an interplay of a complfex system that brings about specific outcomes. I guess that’s the best definition I have and it’s in understanding this mad complex irrational system that I hope to uncover how to, at least theoretically end violence and conflict. But first comes understanding, to understand the problem might very well be the greatest challenge.

 

 

This is my take, I see the world around me, the conflict and chaos that is created and I wish to change it for better or worse. If you disagree or agree and  can help me understand this topic even better, or if you just have a comment, I’d love to hear from you, sharing Ideas after all is why I write, to hear all that can be said, to inspire conversation, and eventually change.

Haile is a Nigerian Student, Blogger & Contributing Writer at The Conversation Room.

You can visit his excellent blog here:

  https://atimetravellingghost.wordpress.com/

The Necessity Of New Ideas

The clock is ticking. Welfare economics has eroded in the West as Multinational Companies have taken full advantage of globalisation and far surpassed the wealth of many democratic States. Conflict & economic insecurity have fuelled the largest mass migration crisis in history. But the question, is this simply the natural consequence of our global economic system?

Why do we look at issues of war/economy/migration/climate change in isolation? Could it be that they are all connected to, and symptomatic of, the larger neoliberal global order?

Do we have to describe Countries as either “developing” or “developed” – Why are we all  on the same path to becoming urban concrete jungles of Starbucks & skyscrapers?

Is there perhaps a different path we can walk to eliminate poverty without selling our environment and democracy to private industry?

These are some interesting and important questions the world desperately needs some answers to. This video provides some provocative stoking for the fire.