“Shared anger is thrilling, and that’s part of what’s driving us off a cliff as a country.”— Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Jonathan received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. His research examines the intuitive foundations of morality and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis and the New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind (with Greg Lukianoff).
He has given four TED Talks, and in 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2018 Jonathan has been studying the contributions of social media to the decline of teen mental health and the rise of political dysfunction. He is currently writing two books: Kids in Space: Why Teen Mental Health Is Collapsing and Life after Babel: Adapting to a World We Can No Longer Share.
The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.
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Want to hear an episode with someone who was once Jonathan Haidt’s intellectual enemy, but later became a friend? Listen to my most recent conversation with Sam Harris in which we discussed cleaning and reassembling the gun of mindfulness, navigating time and in-between spaces on different psychedelics, new insights about fear, worthwhile nonprofits, the most important four-word sentence you can be asking in abundance right now, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Jonathan Haidt:
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt | Amazon
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt | Amazon
- The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt | Amazon
- All Minus One: The Illustrated Ideas of John Stuart Mill | Heterodox Academy
- After Babel | Jon Haidt | Substack
- Heterodox Academy
- Perspectives | The Constructive Dialogue Institute
- When Adults Step Back, Kids Step Up. | Let Grow
- Jonathan Haidt | TED Talks
- Bhubaneswar | Incredible India
- Jonathan Haidt on the Pandemic and America’s Polarization | The Atlantic
- Ethnography: Challenges and Opportunities | Evidence-Based Nursing
- What Is Female Genital Mutilation? 7 Questions Answered | UNICEF
- What About “Female Genital Mutilation?” And Why Understanding Culture Matters in the First Place by Richard A. Shweder | Daedalus
- Henry Crown Fellowship | The Aspen Institute
- Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell | The Orwell Foundation
- Moral Relativism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Moral Monism vs. Moral Pluralism | Reddit
- Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy by Barbara Ehrenreich | Amazon
- Moral Foundations Theory
- Anthropocentrism | Wikipedia
- Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion by Jonathan Haidt | Edge
- Response to Jonathan Haidt | Sam Harris
- Emergence | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Roop Kanwar: Last Known Case of Sati In India & Its Relevance Today | Feminism In India
- The Bhagavad Gita | Amazon
- The Rise and Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, “the Romanian Fuehrer” | FEE Stories
- Jonathan Haidt: Gratitude to Psychedelics | LondonReal
- Michael Pollan — Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics | The Tim Ferriss Show #365
- How Psychedelics Can Transform End-Of-Life Care | Slate
- The Alice in Wonderland Omnibus by Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel | Amazon
- Is Individualism vs. Collectivism the New Left vs. Right? | FEE Stories
- Y Combinator
- Keep Your Identity Small | Paul Graham
- The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs | Amazon
- A.J. Jacobs — How to Be Less Furious and More Curious | The Tim Ferriss Show #588
- Who Are Ashkenazi Jews? | My Jewish Learning
- Who Are Sephardic Jews? | My Jewish Learning
- Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) | Pennebaker Conglomerates, Inc.
- The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris | Amazon
- The Pleasure of Changing My Mind | Sam Harris
- Evolving Minds | Making Sense with Sam Harris #31
- Safe Space | Making Sense with Sam Harris #137
- A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt | Making Sense with Sam Harris #204
- Complex Dynamic Systems Theory | Wikipedia
- How Facebook Ruined Comments (at Least for Me) | Time
- Life After Babel (Overview) | Jonathan Haidt
- Epistemology | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)
- The Halloween Costume Controversy at Yale’s Silliman College | The Atlantic
- The Moral Spectrum: When Freedom’s Just Another Word for Comfortable Homogeneity | The Humanist
- Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid | The Atlantic
- NYT Opinion Editor Resigns after Outrage over Tom Cotton Op-Ed | Politico
- Chicago, Where Fun Comes to Die | The New Yorker
- The Best Anti-Fragility Speech Ever Came From a Surprising Source | FEE Stories
- Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase — The Art of Relentless Focus, Preparing for Full-Contact Entrepreneurship, Critical Forks in the Path, Handling Haters, The Wisdom of Paul Graham, Epigenetic Reprogramming, and Much More | The Tim Ferriss Show #627
- A Timeline of the George Floyd Protests | The New York Times
- Coinbase is a Mission-Focused Company | Coinbase
- Netflix to Staff: Quit If You Can’t Work on Content You Disagree With | Business Insider
- Building the University of Austin | UATX
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf | Aesop’s ABC
- Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science – Heterodox Academy | Heterodox Academy
- On Liberty by John Stuart Mill | Amazon
- Buddhism | National Geographic Society
- Stoicism Resources and Recommendations | Tim Ferriss
- Daryl Davis | A Black Man’s Odyssey in the KKK Part One | The Jordan Harbinger Show #539
- Daryl Davis | A Black Man’s Odyssey in the KKK Part Two | The Jordan Harbinger Show #540
- The Set-Point Theory of Happiness | Changing Minds
- BSPAGB 3110 – Work, Wisdom, and Happiness at New York University | Coursicle NYU
- Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—And How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari | Amazon
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Amazon
- Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement, and Health | Pew Research Center
- Does Getting Married Really Make You Happier? | Institute for Family Studies
- The Study of Suicide by Émile Durkheim | ThoughtCo.
- Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger | Amazon
- Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins | Pew Research Center
- NYU’s Jonathan Haidt Explains the Problem with Gen Z | Vox
- Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow by Lenore Skenazy | Amazon
- Here’s Why Fortnite Is the Best New Social Network | Fast Company
- Dead Poets Society | Prime Video
- Cauliflower Ear | Cleveland Clinic
- Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice | Heterodox Academy
- The Power of Myth — The Hero’s Adventure with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers | The Tim Ferriss Show #456
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) | Amazon
- Meditations: A New Translation by Marcus Aurelius and Gregory Hays | Amazon
- The Enchiridion by Epictetus | Amazon
- The Dhammapada | Amazon
- What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? | American Psychological Association
- [06:51] Richard Shweder.
- [08:59] Making sense of assertions in anthropology.
- [13:50] Why I invited Jon on the show.
- [15:05] Moral relativism.
- [21:24] How an emergentist views human rights violations.
- [23:58] A turning point: why Jon almost never gets angry anymore.
- [26:35] Taking LSD for the first time.
- [32:21] My own transformative experience was happening simultaneously.
- [34:15] Were my politics influenced or altered by this experience?
- [40:17] What being a Jewish atheist means to Jon.
- [45:13] From feud to friendship with Sam Harris.
- [50:19] Complex dynamical system.
- [54:36] How safe spaces and character cancellation took over colleges.
- [1:00:50] Why did the University of Chicago initially resist this trend?
- [1:02:13] What makes businesses more resilient against this trend than colleges?
- [1:07:18] The University of Austin: a catalyst for academic reform?
- [1:11:16] The aim of Jon’s Heterodox Academy.
- [1:15:31] Distilling John Stuart Mill — the patron saint of viewpoint diversity.
- [1:17:26] Aging out of anger and the disarming power of Daryl Davis.
- [1:20:37] How to get smarter, stronger, and more sociable.
- [1:22:55] After Babbel.
- [1:24:46] What the holy and hitched can impart about happiness for the secular and single.
- [1:29:20] What’s happening to Gen Z?
- [1:32:17] Jon and his wife’s free-range parenting style for fostering independence.
- [1:37:30] Group sports vs. individualist sports.
- [1:40:40] A tough coach or teacher tests limits and taps potential.
- [1:46:38] Developing intellectual antifragility.
- [1:49:27] Jon’s billboard.
- [1:52:00] Revisiting practical philosophies when times get tough.
- [1:57:20] Parting thoughts.
MORE JONATHAN HAIDT QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“I don’t get mad. I look at systems and I always think, ‘How can we make them better?'”
— Jonathan Haidt
“If I see someone oppressing a whole society or acting in that monstrous way, not for any morally legitimate reason, I think we need to take action.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“I’ve really come to see that a functioning society, it needs a Progressive wing pushing for change and it needs a Conservative wing saying, ‘Slow down,’ tapping on the brakes. William F. Buckley stands athwart history, yelling, ‘Stop.’ You need both in a healthy society.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“Our left is not Liberal. Our right is not Conservative. We’re a mess. But societies need those two impulses.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“What I’ve learned from studying morality is, in a polarization spiral or a culture war, the harder you hit your enemy, the stronger they get. And so you don’t win by punching them really hard. You can never destroy them.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“‘Heterodox’ means there should be a variety of ways of thinking. We need that in order to be successful.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“You really need to seek out criticism. You need to seek out people who differ from you, and then, actually, you’ll get smarter.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“Shared anger is thrilling, and that’s part of what’s driving us off a cliff as a country.”
— Jonathan Haidt
“You get stronger by challenging yourself, by exposing yourself to threats and dangers within limits that you then surmount, and we have to do this with kids.”
— Jonathan Haidt
- Greg Lukianoff
- Richard Shweder
- H.G. Wells
- George Orwell
- Barbara Ehrenreich
- Sam Harris
- David Wiggins
- William Shakespeare
- Kurt Vonnegut
- Ronald Reagan
- Nicolae Ceaușescu
- Michael Pollan
- Émile Durkheim
- Charles Darwin
- William F. Buckley Jr.
- Paul Graham
- A.J. Jacobs
- James W. Pennebaker
- Rush Limbaugh
- Glenn Beck
- David Sloan Wilson
- Barack Obama
- Nicholas Christakis
- Erika Christakis
- James Bennet
- Robert Zimmer
- Brian Armstrong
- George Floyd
- Mitch Daniels
- Pano Kanelos
- John Tomasi
- Nick Rosenkranz
- John Stuart Mill
- Dave Cicirelli
- Daryl Davis
- Dale Carnegie
- Sigmund Freud
- Johann Hari
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Sebastian Junger
- Jean Twenge
- Lenore Skenazy
- Caroline Mehl
- Joseph Campbell
- Marcus Aurelius
- Gregory Hays
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5 Replies to “Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind, How to Become Intellectually Antifragile, and How to Lose Anger by Studying Morality (#644)”
Hi. I enjoyed another good episode. I thought it would be helpful to point out a small correction–and hope that Jonathan will appreciate it. He says at one point that no university followed Chicago in trying to push back on woke rigidity. The president of Wesleyan University, Michael Roth, has written and spoken about this topic often. His book “Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses” is on point.
It is actually the wokery that allows girls from 6-8 to be genitally mutilated without the protection of our laws. This takes place in Western Countries. Those children are British, American, and Canadian. FGM falls under the conditions legally of both rape and assault. There is no comparison to male circumcision. If religions want to mutiltate their male children with sanitary expert procedures? At least they are not causing infection and disfiguration as well s PTSD and terror, problems with UTIs, no escape for menstrual blood, and ripping in childbirth, fistula creation, and medical need for later revision when the young woman as agency and can search out a physician who isn’t an actual quack. There is no evolved understanding of this. I am calling it. These women are sexually traumatised and tortured. There is no seeing another side of this. Let’s take your daughter, Mr Haidt. See how she feels about doing this instead of mansplaining it to the masses. They don’t understand why our countries do not protect them while we are protecting our own children. Why don’t they count? We aren’t talking to their insane parents. They are talking to us. Ask them. If an adult holds a 6 year old down and takes a razorblade to their vagina? Yes to jail time. Absolutely. Either they are American or British subjects once in our countries or they are not. And if they do not abide by our laws, out they go. Or to jail they go and that is just fine by most people. That is what happens when you sexually abuse children in a civilised country.
Tim, thanks for the quotes. They are a quick way for me to decide if I want to listen/read the episode.
Re: Gen Z, hence the terms Helicopter Parents and Snowplow Parents. I’ve dealt with them and their offspring for years as a soccer referee instructor and assignor. Seldom came out well
FGM is unacceptable in any setting. It does not happen to a baby, it does not happen with anaesthesia, it does not happen in sanitary conditions. Infection is a huge issue. Dirty instruments, unlike in male circumcision are used. There are complications, for example when they sew the lips of the labia together, the girl has no place for her menstrual blood to be released from. It collects and creates infection. She also has UBI and other complications. The clitoris is deeply imbedded into the female anatomy. There is no way to remove it or its sensation, so the operation is a complete act of fraudulence. It is just disfiguring and demoralising, not to mention cruel. No pre-pubescent girl is willing to be raped in this way. There is also tearing in childbirth, and groups like MSF spend a great deal of time repairing fistulas in these women. This is not at all like male circumcision, and when these poor young women get to places like the UK, doctors are afraid to rectify their medical issues due to the fascist-wokery that has a stranglehold on logic and reasoning. These victims are the women. If a mother and her relatives hold a seven year old girl down and cut her vagina, I believe they should absolutely be jailed in 1st world countries. We do not operate within two legal systems within our Western Countries. We do not run small areas of other countries within our countries. It is not protecting women who have immigrated to allow this to take place in our countries. We are underserving these people. It is a barbaric practice, and it is misogynistic at its core. There are actually some things we do not tolerate in first world countries, and this is one of them. It is worse than child slavery, child abuse, and child porn. Probably worse than child trafficking, since it is traumatic, violent, and meets the definition of rape. Do you know that girls who are victimised by this who immigrate feel hard done by because they cannot get justice from practicing physicians in our countries? This is malpractice, neglect, and any physician who refuses to remedy the complications is a quack and should have his/her license pulled. And any person who has “evolved” past being irate about this? Has lost the plot and should retire from advising people on how they should live and think. You haven’t got enough passion for ethics to do this.