Jeremy E. Sherman

'What the hell happened?' Theoretical biologist offers an often-overlooked explanation for how your ex ended up that way

Ultimately there was no talking to them. Nothing you said made any difference. You told them over and over what you needed and they just kept doing the things you’d made absolutely clear didn’t work. Finally, you gave up and got out.

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Beliefs: 12 Myths You'll Be Relieved to Debunk

If you’re unhappy, just change your beliefs. So goes a hugely popular bit of advice in psychological and spiritual circles these days. It makes some sense, though not as much as touted. It suggests that beliefs are like consumer products. If you’re dissatisfied with the product, just swap it out for an upgrade. Simple.

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How Authoritarian Leaders Get Away with It

Experimental psychologist Bob Altemeyer spent his entire career studying authoritarians, both the leaders and the followers. In 1998, he wrote:

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The Future History of the Two Human Races: A Parable

There turned out to be two races of humans, not based on ethnic origin or creed, but on adaptive strategy. When times got tough, the species split. One regressed toward brute strategies, the other toward attempts to reason out solutions that work for the long haul.

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I'm Not a Self-Hating Jew; I'm a Tribe-Unexceptionalist Jew

I was born Jewish and like most folks I love myself and my tribe. I especially like our flavor of self-effacing irony, much as I love the self-effacing irony of other tribes, Mexicans, black Americans. I suspect we come by through various seasons of being oppressed minorities, though I think most tribes were at one time or another the oppressed and oppressors.

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Are You Suffering From "Fragidity" - Pretending You're on Top of Things, but It's a Masquerade?

It happens to the best of us. Our lives get shaken; our grooves get broken. We get a little disoriented or maybe a lot. It’s all we can do to keep it together and every little further perturbation; real or perceived is a threat. 

So we circle the wagons, hyper-vigilant against attacks, challenges, feedback or questions.  We get prickly and rigid, insistent that we’re on top of things, precisely because we’re not. To those around us it can look like the height of arrogance but it’s actually vulnerability. We don’t think more of ourselves, but less and are grasping for the self-certainty we’ve lost.

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Burning Man Embraces the Paradoxes of Life

My first Burning Man was eight years ago. I arrived at the gate late on the second night with my then-girlfriend. We were ready for almost anything, but not for the manic clown-police at the entrance gate who, with a deft hand and an inch-wide white marker drew a giant ejaculating penis on our windshield and demanded (tongue-in-cheek) all our drugs.

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How to Tell If Someone (Or Yourself) Is A Jerk

One of my most consuming questions is what makes someone a jerk, a person worth doubting, ignoring or even fighting. I’m not satisfied with the conventional answers, for example that a jerk is anyone we don’t like, or a jerk is someone who has wrong ideas (in other words ideas that counter ours), because these exclusively subjective answers don’t resolve anything, leaving us rather with a world full of people squared off against each other, each deciding the other is a jerk. And I do think there are jerks. I don’t go along with those who say everyone is good and that only jerks think that people are jerks.

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