Conversation Culture

What's happening

In these COVID-19 times, we have been questioning many of the ways in which we run our society, and many of the ideas on which it is based (our culture).

I have been thinking a lot about which of these changes will stick, and which of them we *should want to stick*.

For starters, for something small; all of the measures we are taking to curtail sickness, encouraging working from home, social distancing, less handshakes/hugs, masks, more frequent hand-washing and carrying around hand sanitiser. How much of this would be good advice every flu season? How much of this is good advice in general?

Has the bug of the coronavirus revealed bugs in our culture?

Much more significant, we can look at the global cooperation. Have we been forced to learn how to cooperate across borders more effectively? Are we growing better at communicating, at transmitting reliable information quickly? Is arbitrarily dividing humanity into groups based on geography meaningful anymore? If we can run our businesses using online tools, do they need to be constrained by geography? What is a company or an organisation anyway besides a group of people working together towards a common objective?


But I don't want this merely to be about the current lockdown.

Let's think more generally — what is wrong with society how it is? What is wrong with our culture at this moment in time? What are the pain points you run into through the course of your lives that are directly because of them?

By society: I mean the institutions, laws and regulations that determine how we live

By culture: I mean the shared ideas that we hold, it is from seeds of these ideas that the tree we call society begins to sprout.

What are widely held beliefs that you believe are mistaken?

What conventions do you believe are ridiculous?

What are things that *everyone* complains about that we have created? (advertisements come to mind)

What is wrong with the way we are running the world?

Accessing the event

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Very Optional Resources:

This discussion will be about what everyone feels is wrong with the world; as such, there aren't any resources necessary to read before coming in.

Here is a recent conversation between Sam Harris and Yuval Noah Harari on the social change and cultural debugging that could arise from this pandemic:

Since some of you may appreciate semi-relevant content to read;

Here are some pieces I have written criticising aspects of our culture and the society it has brought forth:

* Happiness and Problem Solving: Our failure to view our problems as inherently solvable is perhaps the biggest problem with our culture

* Beyond Good and Evil: Our conventional notions of Good and Evil don't make sense, and our belief in them causes needless suffering

* An Internet that Sparks Joy: At the moment many of the algorithms that power our social networks were designed to waste our time and keep up dissatisfied, doesn't have to be that way

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