Better people require better institutions.
As a society, we should focus on: Community | Attention | Knowledge | Education
Community: Regular Dialogue About Our Lives
There is a growing realization of our cultural divide. It's not healthy for us as individuals to hate others or to be unable to appreciate other perspectives. And as communities and nations, democracy is unsustainable without an ability to understand each other and find compromises. We must have deep conversations over time in real life. When you understand the life experiences that made a person who they are, it becomes much easier to accept their opinions. Relationships develop. With friends who see the world very differently, we naturally become less reactionary. All of life becomes less black and white. That's a better, and necessary, way to live.
Attention: Greater Autonomy Over Our Minds
Our understanding of the world is determined by what we pay attention to and that's now ever more well understood by those trying to manipulate us. We must do a better job of managing it for ourselves and even others.
Knowledge: Supporting the Search for Truth
While we are all limited by our personal experience, we have methods and peer review to ascertain facts. But it takes time and resources. If we don't pay people willing to both do that work and be transparent about it, our society at large will be either more ignorant or misinformed on purpose. This pertains to science and journalism, but also the great art that tries to tell us how it feels to live another person's life.
Education: A More Rational Approach to Life
Reason is the path out of darkness. There's a basic level of knowledge and critical thinking that must be embraced by all the people of a society to make progress possible and avoid the worst ideas becoming a social contagion.
Q: why does everyone need a better liberal arts (civics?) education?
A: to have a better society (live well with others and participate in self-government), we need people who are living examined lives. but an examined life is lonely without deep interaction with other people doing that also. living a modern life built around failing values is painful. so we need to build up regular community interaction and art that encourages people to live examined lives. with the world's information at our fingertips via the internet, education should focus more on how to think and access good information than memorization. that's also necessary because the internet gives us unlimited options in what to believe. the loss of gatekeepers means we must get better at filtering out bad information and spreading facts and proven valuable perspectives.
NOTE: the icons of cool are those who argue that the cultural norms should change in some way that is proven correct later on.
Q: what's the mental framework needed to live righteously
A: an education is the building of our understanding of reality and how best to live by engaging in good faith dialectic on as many topics relevant to our lives as possible. because we are limited in time, we must also incorporate what has been learned from others who went through this process before us, relying on the wisdom of (mostly dead) crowds to decide which of these others' thoughts to consume. hopefully, we can also in engage in small group dialectic about these sources at the same time. it is inherently a social process that we must do with appropriate skepticism.
Humanities | Social Sciences | Civilization | Natural Sciences | Math | Arts | Language
what's needed in a society
what's needed to be happy