Social Change

Independence ⇄ Interdependence

When I was younger, I prided myself on being independent, not needing others' help. That's why, when I sliced my thumb open in a Safeway, I just wrapped it in a few napkins, pretended it wasn't a problem, and continued to bleed on the Caltrain all the way home. After…


The Other Side

.content img { width: 480px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; border: none; } Originally posted as four pics in a tweet. Links to the authors' books: The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell Moral Politics by George Lakoff…


Evolution, Not Revolution

The next time you're tempted to praise an idea, a movement, or yet another photo-sharing app as "revolutionary"... remember how actual revolutions usually turn out. Like everyone else, I was really optimistic at the beginning of the Arab Spring. Now, Syria's a bloodbath. Egypt's torturing activists. Libya's descended into civil…


Three Books on Violence

Forty-nine people at a queer nightclub, then a Member of Parliament in Britain, then 300+ Muslims during Ramadan, then two black men, then five police officers, then 84 beachgoers, then 250+ Turks, then three more police officers. It's been a long month. This is probably not a healthy coping mechanism,…


Emergent Evil

For my first collaboration with PBS Frontline, I've been reading lots of research on the psychology of genocide, massacres, and terrorism. Been doing this for a bit over a month now. Fun. Anyway, as it turns out, psychologists have come to a shocking consensus about the minds of these kinds…


The Science of Social Change

We're doing it wrong. Doing what wrong? The way we, activists and storytellers, seem to go about trying to change peoples' minds: by more or less just telling them “you're doing it wrong”. And to be fair, I used to do this style of "activism" all the time. For example,…