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Archive for June, 2012

There’s some great stuff on the blogosphere this week. Richard Beck is cooking up a fab new series called Theology and Peace over at Experimental Theology http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2012/06/theology-and-peace-part-1-why.html I haven’t commented below the line on this series yet, but I’m simply blown away by the quality and succinctness  of the first three posts. RHE has a neat post about the recent publishing phenomenon of “afterlife memoirs”. http://rachelheldevans.com/afterlife-memoirs. There are some fascinating points to be made about this relatively new genre which seems to be extremely popular in American Christianity of a certain flavour. I’ve posted some of that in Rachel’s comments and hope to work up a longer post here. But the one stand out post from the last few days has to be Dan Ariely’s reposting of a Michael Lewis graduation speech at Princeton. Dan’s take on it is at
http://danariely.com/2012/06/20/social-power-and-morality/ and the whole speech can be found at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/87/54K53/

He cites this chunk of Lewis’ speech:
“…… a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.”

I aim to post my take on that later in the week…

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