To live happily, how much does your appearance really matter? Appearance is often in the news, because it interests all of us. But though we all know it’s fun to talk about appearances, we also know it has a dark side. When journalists and scholars discuss the politics of appearance, they tend express pathological concerns. Appearance competitions, dress codes, and
Transgender politics and considerate gender reform
Supporting Transgender Young People – this Scottish policy document sounds good and is well-intentioned. But what considerations might help schools to implement this without causing fights and making matters worse through fear-mongery, authoritarian implementation, and backlash?
“True self” dogma: positive psychology’s most sanctimonious and misguided religious nostrum.
If you’re fed up with “true self” authenticity dogma, clap your hands.
Pinker will be accused by many of Western triumphalism. Arguably it’s the miserabilist critics of modernity that are more smug, because implicitly they take progress for granted, whereas Pinker recognizes it as exceptional and in need of interpreting.
#OxfamToo: moral high ground lost and found?
The Oxfam Haiti scandal is bad, but there’s no need for a moral panic. This calls for reasonable debate about the rights and wrongs of sexual encounters, and about how relief agencies balance risks of harms against the likelihood of doing good. Let’s see what positive moral clarity we can arrive at by asking a few reasonable but awkward questions.
Global Gender Gap Reports: could we make them more realistic and less offensive?
The World Economic Forum produces reports on female disadvantage that are mislabeled as ‘Gender Gap Reports’. They ignore self-reported wellbeing, and explicitly discount any male disadvantages. If you’re not scandalized and offended by that, well you should be.
Who ate all the surprises?
101 apocalyptic revelations you didn’t expect from happiness research – and the counter-revelations that keep the game going. You didn’t know? Oh I think you did.
Happiness and temptation: devil’s curse or God’s plan?
Can temptation be enjoyable in its own right? Isn’t it sometimes good to give in to temptations? The Pope says the Lord’s prayer unfairly blames God, rather than the Devil, for leading humans into temptation. Theological sophistries aside, might there be some benefit in a global conversation about what temptation is all about, and what roles it plays in the good life?
The upside of disparity: on injustice, inequality, and wellbeing.
Will the UK’s ‘Race Disparity Audit’ be used intelligently and constructively? Not if our Prime Minister Theresa May has anything to do with it. We have here a textbook example of why ‘fighting injustice’ may be a dangerous distraction from the more important and constructive tasks of promoting wellbeing and social harmony.
Colonialism, appreciative history, and the trials of academic heterodoxy.
What did the Romans ever do for us? … There can be no intellectual or moral excuse for claiming that colonialism was either all good, or all bad. Authors and signatories of the petition against Gilley should be hanging their heads in shame and weeping at their own lack of moral fibre.