MORE IDEAS FROM THEBOOK
"For the first time in world history, data exists for almost every aspect of global development. And yet, because of our dramatic instincts and the way the media must tap into them to grab our attention, we continue to have an overdramatic worldview. Of all our dramatic instincts, it seems to be the fear instinct that most strongly influences what information gets selected by news producers and presented to us consumers."
The size instinct describes our tendency to get things out of proportion, or misjudge the size of things.
To avoid getting things out of proportion you need only these tools: comparing and dividing:
Remember that information about bad events is much more likely to reach us. Expect bad news.
The negativity instinct describes our tendency to notice the bad more than the good.
So when you hear about something terrible, calm yourself by asking, If there had been an equally large positive improvement, would I have heard about that?
Rember that reality is often not polarized at all. To control the gap instinct, look for the majority.
“The image of a dangerous world has never been broadcast more effectively than it is now, while the world has never been less violent and more safe.”
"Human beings have a strong dramatic instinct toward binary thinking, a basic urge to divide things into two distinct groups, with nothing but an empty gap in between. We love to dichotomize. Good versus bad. Heroes versus villains. My country versus the rest. Dividing the world into two distinct sides is simple and intuitive, and also dramatic because it implies conflict, and we do it without thinking, all the time."
Recognize when frightening things get your attention, and remember that these are not necessarily the riskiest. Calculate the risks.
A single perspective can limit your imagination; look at problems from many angles to get a more accurate understanding and find practical solutions.
Remember that categories are misleading. So question your categories.
The fear instinct describes our tendency to pay more attention to frightening things.
These fears are hardwired deep in our brains for obvious evolutionary reasons. Fears of physical harm, captivity, and poison once helped our ancestors survive. In modern times, perceptions of these dangers still trigger our fear instinct.
This instinct describes our tendency to assume that a line will just continue straight and ignoring that such lines are rare in reality.
But don’t assume straight lines. Many trends do not follow straight lines but are S-bends, slides, humps, or double lines. No child ever kept up the rate of growth it achieved in its first six months, and no parents would expect it to.
The blame instinct describes our tendency to find a clear, simple reason for why something bad has happened.
“Critical thinking is always difficult, but it’s almost impossible when we are scared. There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”
“Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based worldview.”
The urgency instinct describes our tendency to take immediate action in the face of perceived imminent danger, and in doing so, amplifying our other instincts.
To control the urgency instinct, take small steps.
This is the idea that innate characteristics determine the destinies of people, countries, religions, or cultures. It’s the idea that things are as they are for ineluctable, inescapable reasons: they have always been this way and will never change.
Remember that many things (people, countries, religions, and cultures) appear to be constant just because the change is happening slowly, and remember that even small, slow changes gradually add up to big changes.
It's true that the world population is increasing. Very fast. But it’s not just increasing.
The “just” implies that, if nothing is done, the population will just keep on growing. It implies that some drastic action is needed in order to stop the growth. That is the misconception based on our instinct to assume that lines are straight.
Learning environments can be split into two:
The future is a time when the world looks fundamentally different from today.
We need two types of progress to create the future:
Hidden games are played in sandboxes that people don’t even realize exist. Hidden games have a higher return, but they are more long-term and abstract. For example, a hidden game is starting a business in an unsexy industry (i.e., building tunnels with Elon Musk).
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