A prerequisite for any progress, [Kristof] acknowledged, is an admission that the "other" side of an argument has at least some legitimate concerns. But Kristof also quoted University of Virginia psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, who said that "our minds were not designed by evolution to discover the truth; they were designed to play social games." Therefore, according to Haidt, "the best way to open the mind is through the heart." Kristof expanded on this to suggest finding moderates on the "other" side and eating meals with them to build emotional bonds that allow a differing point of view to make it through to the other side.
I'm not sure I agree with Haidt about our minds being designed solely (if, in fact, he meant that) for social games. Our ability to reason is as legendary as our ability to manipulate. By the same token, the number of people who like me very much but won't for two seconds entertain a discussion point that challenges a position they hold is legion. Which means ... what?
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2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan