Response to “How America Went Haywire”

Follows is a letter to editors of The Atlantic in regards to an article it published: How America Went Haywire. Editor: Kurt Anderson argues that America’s crazies prefer to “disregard science in favor of [their] own beliefs.” No less a scientist than Albert Einstein disregarded the evidence for quantum mechanics in favor of his belief that God didn’t play dice with the universe. His colleague, Max Plank, noted that science advances not by a careful weighing of evidence, but “one funeral at a time.” Anderson misunderstands what it is to be human. It is human nature to disregard science in favor of our beliefs (more precisely, to disregard that which conflicts, whether empirical or not, with our beliefs). It is human nature to mistake our beliefs, our self-constructed metaphysics, for reality. Anderson, himself, does it, flagrantly. His entire argument, until he mentions a survey three-quarters of the way through his essay, is bereft of any empirical evidence.  He neither offers nor uses an empirically tested theory of cultural change or of human psychology that explains the changes he sees in America since the 60s. Instead, he gives us a sterling example of confirmation bias (another behavior eminently human)—selectively picking evidence that supports what he already believes. Another historian could offer an equally impressive array of counter examples. In essence, Anderson has built an argument based on what he “feels” is right. He has used his reason—as humans do—to, post facto, validate his worldview. His relationship to reality is no less blinkered than Esalen’s shamans. His advantage is that, at this point in time, his worldview more closely aligns with...

The First Step To Achieving Unconditional Love Is A B*TCH

The first step is understanding why you have conditions in the first place. “When he proves to me that I can trust him, I’ll love him unconditionally.” I wait a beat. Two. My client is a brilliant and incisive lawyer. On cross-examination, she’d annihilate any witness who said something so inane. I wait another second. All I get is stubborn silence. “So,” I say slowly. “As soon as he meets your conditions, you’ll love him unconditionally.” “Yes,” she says. Incisively. Read...

Transformation: The Short Story

Personal transformation is a choice: just change the way you look at the world. This is a story about transformation. About changing your experience of the world. It can happen in a flash: all you need do is change the lens you are looking through. Read More  ...