Geoff Lichy

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Category: Psychology

Is Staying Informed Overrated?

I saw a couple of tweets earlier this month from Naval Ravikant, and they’ve stuck with me. Not because they’re particularly enlightening on their own — they’re individual tweets, after all. It’s because Naval’s statements mesh with other pieces of information I’ve seen this year. Together, the sum of this knowledge paints quite an interesting picture.

Oddly controversial statements to make these days:

  • “Be optimistic.”
  • “Staying informed is overrated.”

Yet in certain ways, they make sense. Is it worth taking the time to keep up with the news?

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The USA Isn’t Really One Country (And Some Post-Election Thoughts)

Of course the USA is one country from a technical perspective. Yet from a geographic-based ideological perspective, it’s hard to come to that same conclusion.

The results of the 2016 presidential election have only reinforced regional differences. It’s not so much a liberal-conservative divide but an urban-rural one. Judging from the attitudes of Washington insiders, things aren’t a simple Democrat-Republican divide. Prominent politicians of both parties often have similar ideals and goals.

What’s troubling is the lack of communication and understanding between urban and rural voters. It’s led to continuous anger at The Other Side.

Many liberals, confined to their “coastal citadels,” don’t venture outside of their bubbles. The same is true of many conservatives. For example, you won’t see many farmers or coal miners on a liberal arts college campus. What does an upper middle class Millennial college student from Los Angeles have in common with a 55-year-old lumberjack from West Virginia who saw a neighbor die of a heroin overdose last week? Not much, and neither group seems interested in talking to the other. The city-dwellers call the rural people “backwards rednecks.” The countryside-dwellers call the urban people “entitled smug idiots.” If you don’t interact with certain groups, they can become stereotypes – instead of individuals with unique hopes and fears.

It might seem strange that each area (neighborhood, county, state, etc.) has its own culture, but therein lies the rub: many people don’t realize the sheer diversity of the United States. Talk to people in 10 different states; they’ll give different answers about their concerns. (Even if this doesn’t seem strange to you, it’s not something which often comes to mind.)

Ideologically, the United States of America isn’t really one country. This idea is implied in the name: The United States. It’s a conglomerate of distinct states which have united under a central federal government.

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Why you don’t like being wrong: about taking sides, confirmation bias, and neutrality

Humans are complicated creatures. Why is it that we do or say certain things? What makes beliefs unshakable? Usually confirmation bias is to blame. In the digital age, where opinions are around every corner, is true neutrality possible? 

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