02021-12-10 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Nocebo is a word I learned today. After listening to his podcast conversation on Sway yesterday morning, I found Rutger Bregman’s latest book Humankind – A Hopeful History at the local library and downloaded the audio version. The prologue alone is worth borrowing the book for. So much of what we learn from the news, from politicians, and from professional pundits is plain wrong.


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    I really, really liked the podcast with Bregman. His ideas are so wise and not victim to negativity and cynicism. I was going to order his book(s), but I’ll get the audio books if he is reading. I enjoyed hearing him. His voice is rich and has that charming slight accent. I think he’s full of love.

    I liked his comment about American media. Said that CNN sounds hysterical. Yeah.

    • ottmar

      Bregman reads the prologue. Another man reads the rest of the book. Both do a good job.

      • JaneParhamKatz

        The nocebo and placebo effects are worth some deep consideration. Mental power to govern the body is way underestimated by most folks in our culture. If nocebo/placebo works in some instances, why not in all. It should be just as scientific as material medicine.

  2. Steve

    I have appreciated what Michael Crichton had to say about print media, although the following could apply to any form. He had discussed the following paradox/amnesia effect with the physicist Murray Gell-Mann and gives the following example:

    “…Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about some other topic than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” – Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

    And this goes on all the time: happens in print media, online, and broadcast. Its fascinating to think that we live in the so-called “information age”, while simultaneously living in epistemic opacity. How do you know what you know? The noise and uncertainty for any given presentation of a specific story is quite high.

    It’s pretty difficult to actually find out what’s happening with any truth correspondence at all without going through a significant amount of source material. If you just read or listen to the media in a one-off way, it’s highly likely the presented information is … if not outright wrong, then likely quite incomplete or skewed.

  3. anne

    The diamond imo is – Kara Swisher.


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