“Humility and Rationality”

Humility and Rationality
By Wade Lee Hudson

A review
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, 512 Pages

Controlling emotions, instincts, intuitions, and biases is like riding an elephant. As Jonathan Haidt wrote: “The emotional tail wags the rational dog.” In his magnum opus, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman sums up decades of research and urges readers to strengthen “slow thinking” to better manage “fast thinking.” Rationality demands discipline, practice, and effort, but over-confident, we often fail. A humble understanding of why and how we don’t always choose the most rational action can help us be better human beings. 

Kahneman argues that humans

often need help to make more accurate judgments and better decisions, and in some cases policies and institutions can provide that help. The assumption that agents are rational provides the intellectual foundation for the libertarian approach to public policy: do not interfere with the individual’s right to choose, unless the choices harm others. For behavioral economists, however, freedom has a cost, which is borne by individuals who make bad choices, and by society that feels obligated to help him. The decision of whether or not to protect individuals against their mistakes, therefore, presents a dilemma.

Whether to require motorcyclists to wear helmets is an example. Requiring everyone to get health insurance is another.

Social-change activists have much to learn from Kahneman’s work, which calls for a commitment to overcome the arrogance that interferes with learning from mistakes. No wonder pride has been considered the number-one sin, and humility the number-one virtue. 

Megan Rapinoe’s Victory Speech

From the speech:

” … I think I’ll just end with this,” She continued. “This is my charge to everyone: We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We have to listen more, talk less. We’ve got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility … to make this world a better place.

“I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders and understanding the position that we have and the platform we have in this world.

“There has been so much contention these last few years. I’ve been a victim of that. I’ve been a perpetrator of that. … But it’s time to come together. This conversation is at the next step. We have to collaborate, it takes everybody. … Do what you can … step outside yourself. Be more, be better, be bigger than you’ve ever been before. … .”

Read more and see the video at: https://nesn.com/2019/07/watch-megan-rapinoes-inspirational-speech-at-world-cup-victory-parade/

Spiderman Quotes

‘It’s easy to fool people when they’re already fooling themselves.’ – Quentin Beck (Spider-Man: Far From Home) 

‘People, they need to believe. And nowadays, they’ll believe anything.’ – Quentin Beck (Spider-Man: Far From Home) 

Save More Tomorrow

An example of how it works:
An employee, therefore, might opt to allocate 50% of any future salary increases to their pension plan – meaning that, should they have a pay rise of 2% in any given year, half of this would go into their wage packet and half into their pension. Importantly, workers do not see any fall in their take home pay as a result of this programme.


Save More Tomorrow

Millions of Americans are effortlessly setting aside money for retirement thanks to the Save More Tomorrow program.

Save More Tomorrow is a behavioral intervention pioneered by Richard Thaler and I that is designed to make saving for retirement as easy and painless as possible. The intervention consists of three central components. First, we ask people to commit now to saving more in the future. This helps them avoid present bias. Second, planned increases in savings rates are linked to future pay raises. This minimizes the influence of loss aversion since take-home pay never decreases. Third, once employees are enrolled in the program, they remain in the program unless they opt-out. This makes good use of inertia. By taking our mental weaknesses into account, Save More Tomorrow helps us overcome them, allowing workers to make financial decisions closely aligned with their financial needs and long-term goals.

This “nudge” has gone on to achieve massive scale. In 2006, it was enshrined into law as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which encouraged companies to adopt the core principles of the program. According to the latest calculations, it’s estimated that Save More Tomorrow has helped approximately fifteen million Americans significantly boost their savings rate.

“Harris says busing should be considered, not mandated”


…After a Democratic Party picnic Wednesday in West Des Moines, Harris was asked by reporters whether she supports federally mandated busing.

“I think of busing as being in the toolbox of what is available and what can be used for the goal of desegregating America’s schools,” she responded.

Asked to clarify whether she supports federally mandated busing, she replied, “I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district.”


Still Looking for a Holistic Community

By Wade Lee Hudson

Re-posted 6/29/18

I seek a community whose members promote comprehensive transformation, aim to become better human beings, and set aside time to support each other with those efforts. 

That’s it. The essential ingredients of a holistic community that involves the whole person and helps change the whole world. It seems straightforward and sensible. From time to time, I’ve tasted holistic community enough to convince me it’s practical. But those experiences, including my own efforts to organize one, have been fleeting, and I know of none I can join.

My primary motivation is that I believe holistic communities could help relieve suffering. As I address in Transform the System: A Work in Progress, it seems to me that most social change efforts specialize in ways that undermine their effectiveness. Most focus on either the outer world or the inner world. Holistic communities that integrate the two could provide mutual support for both open-ended self-development and improvements in the external world, including political action to impact public policy.

A mission statement for a network of holistic communities might be something like: to help transform our country into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itself. That wording would enable people in any country to endorse it.

To help achieve that mission, community members might adopt a commitment such as:

Change Myself, Change the World: A Commitment

I commit to:

    • Pay attention to, control, and try to change thoughts and feelings that can lead to oppressive or counterproductive behavior.  
    • Acknowledge my mistakes and resolve to avoid them in the future.
    • Become a better human being and love myself and others in every situation.
    • Talk about my efforts with close friends and listen to them talk about their efforts.
    • Support the development of social structures that nurture personal and community empowerment.
    • Help transform my nation into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itself.
    • Help improve my nation’s public policies with measures such as assuring living wage job opportunities and taking steps to protect the less powerful from arbitrary discrimination and oppression inflicted on them by the more powerful. 

In addition to informal, spontaneous activities that emerge naturally in any community, intentional mutual support in a holistic community could involve methods such as: 1) begin meetings with a moment of silence for people to meditate, pray, or reflect on the meeting’s agenda, and/or; 2) “check in” with reports on recent personal and political change efforts. (I’ll maintain a list of such methods at “Possible Methods for How Group Members Can Support Each Other with Their Self-Development.”) 

Affirming a commitment to critical self-examination and setting aside time to report on those efforts — on occasion doing so confidentially with trusted allies — can deepen personal growth.

A network of holistic communities could include many different kinds of groups, including book clubs, study groups, and activist organizations. Those groups could share the same mission, use the same method(s) for pursuing that mission, and affiliate with the network. That common ground could help nurture a sense of community among a wide variety of groups in multiple countries. 

The specific wording of the mission statement and methods as suggested here is not critical. They’re merely offered to clarify the concept. Hopefully others can improve on them.

Now, actively waiting, I keep my eyes and ears open for a community to join. My life is good and I enjoy my frequent solitude. But I believe a holistic community could be of service to humanity, and enrich my own life.

In the meantime, I support political actions from time to time, welcome invitations to discuss these issues, and focus on building the TransformTheSystem.org website. On that site, I’ll update resources, present new proposals for action, post essays and reviews of books and articles, and engage in public dialogs. It may take 2-3 ten years to build the site into the clearinghouse of information and analysis that I envision. But I want to pull together into one place the wide variety of material that has shaped and is shaping my worldview.

To receive occasional reports on additions to the site, subscribe to Transform The System News. To engage in public dialog about these issues, you can comment on blog posts on the site’s home page.

Together, perhaps we can plant seeds that will contribute to positive social change.