Sunday, August 30, 2015

Positive Sociology Asks Us to Be Willing to Accept Good News

Point Two of my seven-point Positive Sociology Manifesto. 

The other points: 1

When Steven Pinker started lecturing on The Better Angels of Our Nature:  The Surprising Decline of Violence, he spent half his time answering his audience's disbelief that violence was declining.  They were so entrenched in the view that things are bad and getting worse, they wanted to reject evidence that the very things they wanted to improve were, in fact, improving.

The world is getting better in many respects.  The world gets better for the good reason that we want to solve problems, and often do.  To be sure, new problems arise.  Some problems are the fruits of new conditions; some are the unintended consequences of prior solutions.  But human being are ingenious in figuring things out, including good things.

Positive sociology asks us to start with a commitment to look for good news, to seek out improvements, and to be willing to accept them when we find them.


Dennis Evans said...

Perhaps not so strangely, I think we find the same process at work in the church.

Dennis Evans said...

And we are supposed to believe in "good news".

Gruntled said...

Believe it and spread it.

Barry said...

When I am tempted to allow my normal human instinct to follow into dark conclusions, I am reminded of a comment that you made in a lecture: The news is a freak show. That is, bad news is an outlier, and thus it draws attention.

Gruntled said...

Amen. If you want a proportionate sense of reality, you need sociology.