Sunday, July 2, 2017

Quiet heroics as well

Both Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology at Stanford, and Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard have TED talks that relate to decreased violence worldwide and better understanding of it.  Both of those men and the Israeli historian Yuval Harari, author of "Sapiens" and of "Homo Deus", see rather positive roads ahead for humanity.  Pinker's recent book on the better angels of our nature was cited by Bill Gates as an important book.  There are good statistics on decreased deaths worldwide from violence.

Human nature is such that the exciting thing gets our attention and stays in our memory.  So, naturally, fighting, warfare and violence stick in our mind.  When we see or hear of a heroic act, we remember it and celebrate it.  However, I think as humankind develops, we will come to notice and celebrate very long periods of steady, alert devotion, such as a mother may give her children or a person may give in caring for an elderly, incapacitated person as equally wonderful and worthy.  It is certainly true that soldiers, guards and police may show stunning physical courage and ability to think and act in dangerous situations.  But the emergency room physician and the priest and the counselor may well employ equally wonderful strength, courage and insight.  Just because such acts occur in quiet settings without bullets flying doesn't make them less impressive.

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby