This is an absolutely lovely piece. I was thinking it was likely that the Dalai Lama thing was going to have an OK explanation but I hadn't googled around to find out what it was ... and for that alone I need to thank you for writing this.

I feel like we need a term for this ability to see the "obvious" conclusion and yet at the same time to doubt that it is the end of the story. I don't remember who coined it, but the term "bullshit detector" is pretty good. Everyone needs one of those, and some people have much better detectors than others.

A different term that I like very much is "moral imagination."

Reading books, especially great books from or about other epochs, is a way of expanding our moral imagination. It's no surprise to me that someone with as deep an interest in history as yourself would be good at processing news without jumping to the worst conclusions. I've never been a big history reader but I have read many novels from other time periods and other cultures, as well as philosophy and theology from down through the ages, and those are the resources that come into play - automatically, it seems - as my bullshit detector goes beep beep beep at the latest stupid internet pile-on.

Expand full comment
May 28·edited May 28

Another great piece. Reinforces my belief that learning the fundamentals of CBT (jumping to conclusions being one of the classic cognitive distortions) could have broad benefits beyond mitigating specific mental health issues and perhaps should be taught starting in elementary school.

I also think there’s something to the reverse CBT theory as written up by Haidt and Lukianoff (and Yglesias)…


Expand full comment

Why do so many people have access to so much information, and yet fail to connect even the most obvious dots. And are dead wrong on many key issues. It's the information paradox. TMI.

Expand full comment

Fantastic read

Expand full comment