Robert Wright quotes

  • Your brain may give birth to any technology, but other brains will decide whether the technology thrives. The number of possible technologies is infinite, and only a few pass this test of affinity with human nature.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Technology #Numbers #Giving

  • Think of it : zillions and zillions of organisms running around, each under the hypnotic spell of a single truth, all these truths identical, and all logically incompatible with one another : 'My hereditary material is the most important material on earth; its survival justifies your frustration, pain, even death'. And you are one of those organisms, living your life in the thrall of a logical absurdity.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Running #Pain #Frustration

  • Jesus is not from Georgia. Jesus does not speak English. And Jesus is not a member of the NRA.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Jesus #Party #Reality

  • ..various people had long had the feeling that gain through pain was nature's way
    -- Robert Wright

    #Pain #Long #People

  • ...human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their ignorance of the misuse.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Ignorance #Moral #Splendid

  • Maybe the growth of "God" signifies the existence of God. That is: if history naturally pushes people toward moral improvement, toward moral growth, and their God, as they conceive their God, grows accordingly, becoming morally richer, then maybe this growth is evidence of some higher purpose, and maybe - conceivably - the source of that purpose is worthy of the name divinity.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Names #People #Growth

  • Next time you see an unblemished expanse of grass, think about the chemicals that probably got dumped in your vicinity to create it. Are you grateful for that?
    -- Robert Wright

    #Nature #Grateful #Thinking

  • Next time you see a yardful of sprouting dandelions, note that they look remarkably like things we call "flowers." And later, when the flowers turn into fluff balls, look closely at one of those fluff balls and ask yourself whether it's really so unattractive.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Nature #Flower #Balls

  • Corruption is knowing when something is not being done, knowing when the American people are being left unprotected and when you make a decision not to do something to protect the American people And you effectively allow 9/11 to occur. That is the ultimate form of government corruption-dereliction of duty. That's subject in the military to prosecution, to court martial. Frankly, if not treason.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Military #Government #Knowing

  • If war can indeed be turned into a relic, then the virtue of greed will recede further. From a given society's standpoint, one big upside of wanton material acquisition has traditionally been the way it drives technological progress-which, after all, helps keep societies strong. In the nineteenth century, Russia ans Germany had little choice about modernizing; in those days stasis invited conquest. But if societies no longer face conquest, breakneck technological advance is an offer they can refuse, and frugality a luxury people can afford.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Change #Strong #War

  • Understanding the often unconscious nature of genetic control is the first step toward understanding that—in many realms, not just sex—we’re all puppets, and our best hope for even partial liberation is to try to decipher the logic of the puppeteer.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Sex #Understanding #Trying

  • Being a person's true friend means endorsing the untruths he holds dearest.
    -- Robert Wright

    #True Friend #Mean #Persons

  • Once you the forces that govern behavior,it's harder to blame the behaver
    -- Robert Wright

    #Blame #Behavior #Force

  • We are built to be effective animals, not happy ones.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Animal #Not Happy

  • God knows greed won't vanish. Neither will hatred or chauvanism. Human nature is a stubborn thing. But it isn't beyond control. Even if our core impulses can;t be banished, they can be tempered and redirected.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Hatred #Greed #Stubborn

  • Actually, there is a sense in which polygynous marriage has not been the historical norm - even where polygyny is permitted, multiple wives are generally reserved for a relatively few men who can afford them or qualify via formal rank. For eons and eons, most marriages have been monogamous, even though most societies haven't been
    -- Robert Wright

    #Men #Wife #Historical

  • If two people stare at each other for more than a few seconds, it means they are about to either make love or fight. Something similar might be said about human societies. If two nearby societies are in contact for any length of time, they will either trade or fight. The first is non-zero-sum social integration, and the second ultimately brings it.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Zero #Mean #Fighting

  • Darwin was one of our finest specimens. He did superbly what human beings are designed to do: manipulate social information to personal advantage. The information in question was the prevailing account of how human beings, and all organisms, came to exist; Darwin reshaped it in a way that radically raised his social status. When he died in 1882, his greatness was acclaimed in newspapers around the world, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey, not far from the body of Isaac Newton. Alpha-male territory.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Greatness #World #Body

  • Giving men marriage tips is a little like offering Vikings a free booklet titled How Not to Pillage.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Men #Offering #Giving

  • Whereas modern cynicism brought despair about the ability of the human species to realize laudable ideals, postmodern cynicism doesn't — not because it's optimistic, but because it can't take ideals seriously in the first place. The prevailing attitude is Absurdism. A postmodern magazine may be irreverent, but not bitterly irreverent, for it's not purposefully irreverent; its aim is indiscriminate, because everyone is equally ridiculous. And anyway, there's no moral basis for passing judgment. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Attitude #Optimistic #Despair

  • Humans have various ways of coping with extended stress, and one is the anticipation of a better time. Here, as with retribution, there is often a kind of symmetry: the more intense the stress and the more hopeless the situation, the more fabulous the coming times that are anticipated.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Stress #Way #Fabulous

  • Religion is a feature of cultural evolution that, among other things, addresses anxieties created by cultural evolution; it helps keep social change safe from itself.
    -- Robert Wright

    #Anxiety #Addresses #Safe