A little while ago I heard a story about someone who’d built up an online craft business, largely through social media. The person booked a holiday to a distant destination and, online, described their pleasure at looking forward to visiting what to them was an ‘exotic’ location. That, it seemed, drew the ire of somebody … More Are lynching mobs a general human thing?
I am always intrigued with people, particularly the way they can show different aspects of themselves. A while back I was discussing the local writing field with somebody and a third person’s name came up. ‘He’s a really nice guy,’ my friend said. I begged to differ: I knew him only as a stranger who’d … More How we all see different aspects of the same people
Something I’ve noticed lately on social media has slightly puzzled me. It happens to me, and I’m sure it happens to others. I always post links to my blog on Facebook – it’s one of the tools available in WordPress, and why not? The link consists of the first words of the post along with … More Why do people react to headlines alone?
One of the biggest logic traps humans fall into – which I see time and again in all kinds of places – is the false dichotomy fallacy. We are conditioned into it: the idea that the terms of discussion presented to us are the sole terms available. We therefore argue over whether one, or the … More Nature versus nurture: the problems of binary thinking
I was interviewed on Tuesday by Sean Plunkett, host of a major talk-back radio programme, about my new book Waitangi: A Living Treaty. Click on the text below to listen to the podcast in which I also explain the origins of the term ‘Aotearoa’. Enjoy. Matthew Wright interviewed by Sean Plunket If you want to … More A radio interview about my latest book
When I was a kid, proper musicians were defined as those qualified in and able to play ‘classical’ music, meaning stuff written in Europe from about the time of Bach through to the early twentieth century, after which music ceased (apparently) to require any competence or talent on the part of composer or performer. All … More If I don’t like it, the artist is stupid… right?
One of the ways humans understand the world is by classifying it – finding categories into which everything slots. This style of thinking has always been around, but it became something of an art form during the Age of Reason, and is still with us today. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the … More Life, the universe, and why people abuse each other over how to classify it
I’ve been getting the disturbing impression of late that the default human position isn’t generosity and kindness; it’s selfish malice. I’ve blogged about this before, but it won’t go away. Life, it seems, is a zero-sum game in which all that counts is self, and the way to get ahead is to break somebody else. … More What ever happened to all the good in the world?
Back when I was a kid at intermediate school (‘junior high’ in US parlance) there was an incident involving a trestle table at the back of the class, on which had been placed a lot of craft works. Adjacent to the trestle was a large cupboard in which all the coats and bags were stored, … More The dangers of being a good Samaritan when society is dysfunctional
I am always intrigued by the way that, every so often, western society is seized with a ‘social panic’ in which some recent and usually small-scale event becomes evidence of a supposedly deep-seated problem that is going to bring society crashing down in ruin. The archetype, for me, is New Zealand’s Elbe Milk Bar scandal … More Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal