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View count:300,044
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Duration:03:52
Uploaded:2015-09-04
Last sync:2018-11-28 02:00
Census Analysis: http://youtu.be/Bvb6GcGCqIg

I've been wanting to make this video for a long time, but it's a difficult topic for me both because I recognize the power that outrage has had in my life and in driving me to learn and to act, and also because I recognize that there are many legitimate reasons to be angry and the last thing I wan to do is tell people who have not had the tremendous privileges I have had how to experience their situation.

But as I have watched the outrage cycle increase in potency and seen the negative affects as people put themselves deeper and deeper into these bubbles of toxic dehumanization, I'm legitimately worried for our future ability to handle difficult challenges in a timely manner. So...here's this video!

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Good morning, John. We're currently being visited by a friend and his 6-year-old daughter and I asked her what she would like me to make my video about today, and she said, "tarantulas in the guacamole."

I'm gonna assume that she means "Let's talk about big, stupid, irrational fears". It's probably not what she meant, but it feels like it might be a bit of a stretch to spend the entire video talking about guacamole tarantulas. So instead, I want to talk about what I think is the most common irrational fear in America today. And that is the fear that 50% of Americans who surround us are thoughtless, and terrible, and foolish.

Now this fear is every bit as irrational as thinking there might be tarantulas in the guacamole, but we all seem to believe it. And I think that this comes from out addiction, our absolute addiction to outrage. Now, I wanna be clear, I'm not talking about anger at systems of oppression, or frustration at disenfranchisement, or fear that we are making intractable decisions that are going to have dramatic and negative consequences for future generations. Those are all completely rational reasons to be upset.

I'm talking about the continuous and unrelenting cycles of manufactured outrage, really manufactured fear that I, you know, used to be a part of and I used to encourage. I used to think that outrage was our most powerful tool for positive change. You had to get people angry, and you had to get 'em up and moving and doing stuff.

But what I've seen in my 35 years is that angry people, the stuff they do, is mostly they talk to each other about how angry they are, and they talk to each other about how wrong other people are, and then every once in a while they interact with those wrong people and then they just are mean.

And everyone does this. Fake statistics get created and passed around, we burn down straw men and we get to feel good about it, because we believe, we've convinced ourselves that this hatred - and let's be honest, it's hatred - is somehow, like, leading to positive change. But when manufactured outrage is the fuel with which we fight, we enter into a kind of outrage arms race where the winner of the election is the one that can terrify its base the most.

Now, as I've tried to put my own addiction to outrage in check, I've become a lot more sensitive to the people who are out there pedalling in it, and those people, on both sides, have started to make me feel like super sick to my stomach, already. So as we enter - far too early - into the 2016 presidential season, I have already started to figure out ways to build up my armor against the outrage cycle.

This doesn't just calm me down and, like, make it possible for me to get up in the morning without being, like, weighed down by all of the tremendous fear, it also - and I truly believe this - gives me a more accurate understanding of the world and our country and our culture. Because outrage blinds us, it is built on and builds bias and stereotypes. It makes people really bad at understanding how society and other people actually function.

So my tools, the ones I'm building, my armor against the outrage cycle, are awareness of my own cognitive biases, a belief in the fundamental goodness of other people, that they want good things for themselves and for their families, and compassion. Those are the things I'm using, if you have strategies for dealing with this, please let's talk about that in the comments.

In the meantime, I just analyzed the whole Nerdfighteria Census of 2015 over at Hankschannel and the results were fascinating. Nerdfighteria has gotten older by three years in the last year, which is weird. We've gone from 24% college graduates to 33% college graduates! People love Crash Course, which is exciting and the vast majority of respondents have suggested Crash Course to their friends or people in their family.

And people really want us to do some kind of news show, which after having talked about the current state of "news media," for the last few minutes, I'm feeling compelled to do also. But it's very hard and I don't know that we'll be able to do it, but we're looking into it, we'll try to do that thing. So thanks I'm glad that you would be interested in that. John, I'll see you on Tuesday.