Two Optimists

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by Neil Godfrey

1. Steven Pinker


2. Noam Chomsky

We have two choices. We can be pessimistic, give up, and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can be optimistic, grasp the opportunities that surely exist, and maybe help make the world a better place. Not much of a choice.

Chomsky, Noam, and C. J. Polychroniou. 2017. Optimism over Despair: On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books.


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Neil Godfrey

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  • 2018-10-26 15:03:52 UTC - 15:03 | Permalink

    Chomsky’s optimism was represented by a quotation in his own words. Pinker’s optimism was presented by a comic parody. I assume that contrast was by design?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-10-27 06:31:16 UTC - 06:31 | Permalink

      The humour of the cartoon captured perfectly the essence of the relevant material I have read by Pinker. 🙂

  • Lowen Gartner
    2018-10-26 16:12:47 UTC - 16:12 | Permalink

    Agree–especially love Pinker – and I add one more. David Deutsch he focuses on rigorous thinking and explanatory power and second book, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World, is incredibly optimistic about how human creativity will continue to solve the problems we face, including the ones we create.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-10-27 06:38:55 UTC - 06:38 | Permalink

      I’m pessimistic about it but I should read it to see if I can be uplifted. 🙂

      The blurbs remind me of all the stories we used to hear about families flying to work or the shopping in this or that device, colonies on the moon, etc. The only problem with technological possibilities is politics cum economics. They always trump the know-how, I think.

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