Saturday, January 3, 2015

Did you make any...

...New Year's resolutions for 2015?

I didn't; never have, never will. Not because I'm like Calvin, but because I figure if something is worth doing it's worth doing today. For example, I resolve pretty much every day of the year to eat better. Is it working? Sometimes.

But if you need a New Year's resolution, a good one can be found in an opinion piece in the Times today by Razib Khan, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Mr. Khan (at least I think it's Mister) writes (my emphasis):

The critic Pauline Kael’s 1972 assertion that she personally knew only one person who voted for President Richard M. Nixon has become a favorite illustration of the cultural isolation of liberal elites. But this may simply be the reality, that Americans are ideologically polarized and inhabit different and mutually exclusive social worlds.

Stereotypes flourish in ignorance. Liberal and conservative perceptions of one another can be ignorant and patronizing because they have so little personal experience of one another. Intriguingly, research by the social psychologists Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nozek and Jonathan Haidt has shown that liberals exhibit the least accurate perception of those with opposing political views.

Our liking for black-and-white versions of reality is belied by their more shaded truths.

We live in a world with a surfeit of information at our service. It is our choice whether we seek out data that reinforce our biases or choose to look at the world in a critical, rational manner, and allow reality to bend our preconceptions. In the long run, the truth will work better for us than our cherished fictions.

So I resolve, as of today, to try harder to "allow reality to bend my preconceptions." Hopefully, it will work out better than that whole eating healthy thing.

No comments: