40. "Scholars and researchers should not be concerned with whether their work makes a contribution to the larger society. It is more important that they pursue their individual interests, however unusual or idiosyncratic those interests may seem."
1. Who is to decide which areas of academic inquiry are worthwhile? Scholars cannot be left to decide; nor can regulators and legislators.
2. Secondly, by human nature we are motivated to pursue those activities in which we excel.
3. Thirdly, it is “idiosyncratic” and ”unusual” avenues of inquiry that lead to greatest contributions to society.
41. "Such non-mainstream areas of inquiry as astrology, fortune-telling, and psychic and paranormal pursuits play a vital role in society by satisfying human needs that are not addressed by mainstream science."
1. Admittedly, these non-mainstream areas of inquiry address certain human needs, which mainstream science and other areas of intellectual inquiry inherently cannot.
2. However, because these pursuits are not rooted in reason, they are favorite pastimes of charlatans and others who seek to prey on dupes.
3. Furthermore, without any sure way to evaluate the legitimacy of these avenues of inquiry, participants become vulnerable to self-deception, false hopes, fantastic ideas and even delusions.
46. "While some leaders in government, sports, industry, and other areas attribute their success to a well-developed sense of competition, a society can better prepare its young people for leadership by instilling in them a sense of cooperation."
1. The chief reason why we should stress cooperation in nurturing young people today is that, as tomorrow’s leaders, they will face pressing societal problems that simply cannot be solved apart from cooperative international efforts.
2. The second compelling reason for instilling in young people a sense of cooperation over competition is that effective leadership depends less on the latter than the former.
3. A third reason why instilling a sense of cooperation is to be preferred over instilling a sense of competition is that the latter serves to narrow a leader’s focus on thwarting the efforts of competitors.
47. "Society does not place enough emphasis on the intellect--that is, on reasoning and other cognitive skills."
While the speaker might overlook the benefits of nurturing certain emotions and feelings, on balance I agree that it is by way of our heads rather than our hearts that we can best ensure the well-being of our society.
1. I concede that undue emphasis on cultivating the intellect at the expense of healthy emotions can harm and individual psychologically.
2. In many other respects, however, emphasizing emotions and de-emphasizing intellect can carry negative, even dangerous, consequences for any society.
3. The dangers of a de-emphasis on intellect are all too evident in contemporary America.
58. "The increasingly rapid pace of life today causes more problems than it solves."
1. The rapid pace of life has resulted in health problems in unprecedented large numbers.
2. Although people today have more leisure time, they are not in a better position than their ancestors to enjoy themselves.
3. More unfortunately, people seem to have become addicted to the rapid pace of modern life.
61. "High-profile awards such as the Nobel Prize are actually damaging to society because they suggest that only a few people deserve such recognition."
The fact that only a few people deserve high-profile awards is insufficient evidence to suggest that such awards are damaging to society.
1. Undoubtedly, high-profile awards suggest that only a few people deserve such recognition.
2. What is significant is that high-profile awards point out the right directions in which all individuals in particular fields should make efforts.
3. To make sure that high-profile awards serve the right purpose of society, it is imperative that the rules of the awards be fair and strictly adhered to.
65. "People have been so encouraged by society to focus on apparent differences that they fail to see meaningful similarities among ideas, individuals, and groups."
People in different cultural environments would respond differently to this statement.
1. On the one hand, western cultures tend to focus on differences among ideas, individuals and groups.
2. The danger of traditional societies, on the other hand, is to ignore differences forcing individuals and groups to conform to one authority.
3. A healthy attitude is to be sensitive to both differences and similarities.