David Brooks delivers a talk entitled Neuroscience and Sociology at the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival.
David Brooks has been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 2003. Previously, he was an editor at The Wall Street Journal, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, and a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic. Currently a commentator on PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” Brooks is also the author, most recently, of The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character. His earlier books are Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. He has contributed essays and articles to many publications, including The New Yorker, Forbes, The Public Interest, The New Republic, and Commentary. He is a frequent commentator on NPR, CNN’s “Late Edition,” and “The Diane Rehm Show.”
Science of society, social institutions, and social relationships, and specifically the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behaviour of organized human groups. It emerged at the end of the 19th century through the work of Émile Durkheim in France, Max Weber and Georg Simmel in Germany, and Robert E. Park and Albion Small in the U.S. Sociologists use observational techniques, surveys and interviews, statistical analysis, controlled experiments, and other methods to study subjects such as the family, ethnic relations, schooling, social status and class, bureaucracy, religious movements, deviance, the elderly, and social change.
WILL POWER! FREEDOM TO LOVE; LOVE IS THE FREE WILL.
There is an affection within Family that is not available to persons outside the Family Therefore to do good work= Your at your best WHEN YOU LOVE "its not who you love but do you love Free Will Love Freely
Brooks seems like an amazingly nervous wanna-be comedian. I'm missing the neuroscience ones though. The title of neuroscience and sociology seems to indicate some learning taking place, some transfer or knowledge, but much of this is emotional pandering and first order approximations of problem solving.
We can say we are trying to reduce the education gap, but our whole economy is geared towards snagging people's vulnerabilities and dragging them down purposefully to refine the political hierarchy ... a positive feedback loop that would lead directly to the world views he speaks out about.
The mythology that he promotes here I think is meant to appeal to old conservatives, but it is wrong. We deliberately impose the IQ we do in order to promote political stability in my opinion. The parking ticket analogy is like a status symbol, we are in love in corruption in the US, but we cannot admit it or it could not continue.
Brooks is intelligent, clever, entertaining and likable, but what our society deliberately steers everyone away from is not something most people are going to see, like the orbits in orbits in orbits used to prop up the old circular view of the universe, without a grounding in looking at the world from an objective generic human being's point of view, GIGO.
What I don't understand is how all that brainpower he has and intellectualism, vision and ideas interfaces with the Republican party ... what does he see as this long term vision of the Republican, or conversely what is missing in the Democrats - or does he care and just wants a job that allows him access to the media?
I agree - it was a great talk. A unhurried but clear overview of the "intellectual revolution" in the area of "non-cognitive skills", i.e. the non-conscious structures and processes that make for better adapted or more successful individuals. Where it gets interesting is the discussion of strategies to help those challenged in these areas. It seems to boil down to maximising caring, nurturing and mentoring relationships right through life. So this involves both seeking and forming such relationships as a win-win exchange with one's society. Something we should keep in mind in this age of rapid mobility and transient relationships at work and cities, especially for our children. David Brooks links the science beautifully to his conception of "conservatism" as "epistemological modesty" where you respect the complexity of the human person or society (both resultants of the interplay of processes whose exact natures are unknown) which you are trying to reform. I was moved by his reference to Hofstader who had an insight when contemplating his deceased wife - that the two had fused into one unit that survived her death and that this integrated unit could somehow perpetuate the family and facilitate the parenting of his orphaned children. "The two shall be one flesh". I am paraphrasing a lot. David's own style is much more conversational and accessible.
This was a great talk. I was particularly interested in the importance of the emotional connection to driving the learning process. While the importance of emotion to learning intuitively makes sense it is good to have this verified.
We have been applying the concepts of neuroscience to organizational transformation, mostly in the private sector. One of the challenges is to develop a repeatable structure that both allows for and guides human connection between people in otherwise dehumanizing organizations and also, surprisingly, between people and the emotional quality of visoinary goals. Presenting people with a sufficiently motivating vision seems to have a similar effect on learning as a direct personal connection.
I look forward to reading the book.