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6 min read

No, You Can’t Feel Sorry for Everyone: The idea of empathy for all ignores the limits of human psychology.

The world seems to be getting more empathetic. Americans donate to charity at record rates. People feel the pain of suffering in geographically distant countries brought to our attention by advances in communications and transportation. Violence, seen on historical timescales, is decreasing. The great modern humanitarian project of expanding the scope of our empathy to include the entire human race seems to be working. Our in-group (those we choose to include in our inner circle and to spend our energies on) is growing, and our out-group (everybody else) shrinking. But there’s a wrinkle in thi
The Atlantic
5 min read

Can Dogs Smell Their ‘Reflections’?

In 1970, a psychologist named Gordon Gallup Jr. anesthetized four chimpanzees and applied red dye to their eyebrows. When the chimps came around, they caught sight of their reflections in a mirror that had been placed in their enclosure. And they did what you or I might do in those circumstances—they touched their eyebrows, prodding at the marks. Gallup concluded that chimps could recognize their own reflections—a feat that “would seem to require a rather advanced form of intellect” and that “implies a concept of self.” Thus was born the mirror test—one of the most famous techniques in the stu
The Atlantic
7 min read

Constant Anxiety Won't Save the World

When New York Magazine published a story about the apocalyptic dangers of climate change last month, it was shared widely, and with alarm. People tweeted things like “Read this and get very, very scared,” or otherwise prescribed fear and worry as the appropriate reaction to the piece. They were mimicking the tone of the story itself, which starts by saying “It is, I promise, worse than you think,” and goes on to avow that “no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.” This weirdly suggests that there is a level of alarmed that would be “enough.” Enough for what? Even
Scribd Editors, Scribd Editor
From the Editors

Lead the conversation…

A must-read guide for anyone too shy or scared to talk to strangers at networking events or parties. Learn to read a room and turn the tides in your favor in any conversation by learning the rules that regulate human behavior. Full of actionable tips to eradicate any awkward pauses in future conversations.