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" My opinions about human nature are shared by many psychologists, linguists, and biologists, not to mention philosophers and scholars going back centuries. "
" A word is an arbitrary label - that's the foundation of linguistics. But many people think otherwise. They believe in word magic: that uttering a spell, incantation, curse, or prayer can change the world. Don't snicker: Would you ever say, 'Nothing has gone wrong yet' without looking for wood to knock? "
" Economic libertarians and Christian evangelicals, united by their common enemy, are strange bedfellows in today's Republican party, just as the two Georges - the archconservative Wallace and the uberliberal McGovern - found themselves in the same Democratic Party in 1972. "
" All of the violence that doesn't occur doesn't get reported on the news. "
" Commerce is a noble profession, and Jews should get over any self-hatred they might harbor from contemplating the capitalist spirit of diaspora Judaism. "
" One of the perks of being a psychologist is access to tools that allow you to carry out the injunction to know thyself. "
" In any dispute, each side thinks it's in the right and the other side is demons. "
" Violence and religion have often gone together, but it's not a perfect correlation, and it doesn't have to be a permanent connection, because religions themselves change. "
" It's likely that taboo words are stored in the right hemisphere of the brain. Massive left hemisphere strokes or the entire surgical removal of the left hemisphere can leave people with no articulate speech other than the ability to swear, spout cliches and song lyrics. "
" I think a lot of moral debates are not over what is the basis of justice, but who gets a ticket to play in the game. "
" If you aren't just brought up in your tribe but interact with other people either directly or vicariously, through journalism and literature, you see what life is like from other points of view and are less likely to demonize them or dehumanize others and more likely to empathize with them. "
" Consciousness surely does not depend on language. Babies, many animals, and patients robbed of speech by brain damage are not insensate robots; they have reactions like ours that indicate that someone's home. "
" You could think of an ecosystem as a bunch of antagonistic arms races, almost: Everything that an animal depends upon for food is the body part of some other animal or plant who would just as soon keep that body part for itself. "
" The more you think about and interact with other people, the more you realize that it is untenable to privilege your interests over theirs. "
" There is no society ever discovered in the remotest corner of the world that has not had something that we would consider the arts. Visual arts - decoration of surfaces and bodies - appears to be a human universal. "
" I think that if you were to probe a lot of people's religious opinions, they would not be as religious as the numbers would suggest. "
" The decline of violence isn't a steady inclined plane from an original state of maximal and universal bloodshed. Technology, ideology, and social and cultural changes periodically throw out new forms of violence for humanity to contend with. "
" Today we take it for granted that war happens in smaller, poorer and more backward countries. "
" So no, it's not all in the genes, but what isn't in the genes isn't in the family environment either. It can't be explained in terms of the overall personalities or the child-rearing practices of parents. "
" But the newest research is showing that many properties of the brain are genetically organized, and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. "
" The actual organization of behavior goes on the level of the individual nerve cells and their connections, and we have a hundred billion nerve cells, probably a hundred trillion connections. It's just mind-boggling to think of all the different ways in which they're arranged in a baby's head. "
" Reading is a technology for perspective-taking. When someone else's thoughts are in your head, you are observing the world from that person's vantage point. "
" Broadly speaking, the Southern and Western desert and mountain states will vote for the candidate who endorses an aggressive military, a role for religion in public life, laissez-faire economic policies, private ownership of guns and relaxed conditions for using them, less regulation and taxation, and a valorization of the traditional family. "
" My politics were pretty anarchistic until 1969 when the Montreal police went on strike. Within hours, mayhem and rioting broke out and the Mounties had to be called in to restore order. It instilled in me that one's convictions can be subjected to empirical test. "
" Plants can't very well defend themselves by their behavior, so they resort to chemical warfare, and plants are saturated with toxins and irritants to deter creatures like us who want to eat them. "
" Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. "
" I have never been a fan of science fiction. For me, fiction has to explore the combinatorial possibilities of people interacting under the constraints imposed by our biology and history. When an author is free to suspend the constraints, it's tennis without a net. "
" Language mavens commonly confuse their own peeves with a worsening of the language. "
" I think that communism was a major force for violence for more than 100 years, because it was built into its ideology - that progress comes through class struggle, often violent. "
" I get drawn in when I feel there is something deep and mysterious going on beneath the surface of something. "
" 20th-century totalitarian movements were no more defined by a rejection of Judeo-Christianity than they were defined by a rejection of astrology, alchemy, Confucianism, Scientology, or any of hundreds of other belief systems. "