06.19.2019

Nicholas Christakis on the History of Human Behavior

Michel Martin sits down with the author of “Blueprint,” Nicholas Christakis, who argues the historical arc of human behaviour bends towards goodness.

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NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS, THANK

NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TALKING TO US YOU SO MUCH FOR TALKING TO US

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

YOU ARE A PHYSICIAN AND A SOCIOLOGIST THAT STUDIES THE WAY PEOPLE BEHAVE IN GROUPS.

WHAT WAS THE INSIGHT THAT HELPED YOU CONNECT THOSE TWO.

I WAS A HOSPICE DOCTOR, AND TOOK CARE OF PEOPLE.

AS PART OF MY EDUCATION AS A DOCTOR AND AS PART OF THE IDEAS ABOUT THE KIND OF SCHOLAR I WANTED TO BE I DECIDED SORT OF EARLY IN MY MEDICAL TRAINING TO ALSO STUDY ASPECS OF OUR LIVES AS HUMAN BEINGS THAT WEREN'T JUST ABOUT OUR BODIES AND HOW THEY WORKED.

YOUR LATEST BOOK, BLUEPRINT, MAKES THE ARGUMENT THAT THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY HAS FOCUSED ON THE AMPLE EXAMPLES OF THAT.

THE BRIGHT SIDE HAS BEEN DENIED THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES.

HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT?

I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, I'M AN OPTIMIST BEING GUY, AND JUST BY NATURE, AND I MARVEL AT US, AT THE WAY HUMANS ARE AND AT THE WAY HUMAN BEINGS AS A PHENOMENON IN THE NATURAL WORLD, AND I HAD BECOME SORT OF UPSET WITH THE WAY THAT THE SCIENTISTS AND THE PERSON ON THE STREET ALL TOO OFTEN IN MY VIEW FOCUS ON THE PROPENSITY FOR VIOLENCE OR SELFISHNESS OR TRIBALISM OR LYING AND HATRED AND WE ARE ALSO AS AN ANIMAL CAPABLE OF WONDERFUL THING, CAPABLE OF LOVE, COOPERATION AND TEACHING.

WHY NECESSARILY?

IF I CAME -- IF OUR ANCESTRAL ENVIRONMENT AND I'M TALKING ABOUT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF YOUR EVOLUTION, IF WHENEVER I CAME NEAR YOU YOU KILLED ME OR YOU FILLED ME WITH USELESS INFORMATION OR LIED TO ME OR WERE MEAN TO ME IN SOME WAY THEN I WOULD BE BETTER OFF NOT COMING NEAR YOU.

I WOULD BE BETTER OFF LIVING AS A SOLITARY ANIMAL.

WHATEVER THE DISADVANTAGES THAT THERE ARE IN US CONNECTING TO EACH OTHER AND THERE ARE SUCH DISADVANTAGES, THE ADVANTAGES MUST HAVE SURPASS SED THOSE AND THAT'S HOW NATURAL SELECTION WORKS AND I BECAME VERY, VERY INTERESTED IN THE POSITIVE ASPECS OF OUR HUMANITY.

I WAS PONDERING WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE FACT THAT SOCIAL SCIENCE HAD BEEN SO FOCUSED ON THE NEGATIVE.

WE CAN WALK OUT THE DOOR OF THE STUDIO AND FIND AMPLE EVIDENCE AND ON THE OTHER HAND, IF I TRIPPED, SOMEBODY WOULD HELP ME.

PART OF IT IS THAT WE'VE BEEN SHAPED TO PAY ATTENTION TO BAD NEWS, AND FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, BETTER FOR YOU TO BE MORE ATTENTIVE TO GOOD NEWS, BECAUSE BAD NEWS MIGHT BE MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU.

THE SAME WAY THE JOURNALISTS SAY IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS.

THEY STUDY HOMICIDE, THEY STUDY CRIME AND QUOTE, DEVIANTS AND THEY STUDY THESE THINGS THAT ARE BAD AND THERE ARE ALSO ALL THESE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD ABOUT US, NOT JUST ME, MANY SCIENTISTS ARE IN THE COOPERATION, AND THE STORY THAT YOU JUST TOLD ABOUT TRIPPING.

IT WOULD BE ODD FOR OTHER ANIMALS TO DO THAT.

SOME ANIMALS DO NOT COOPERATE WITH NON-KIN, NON-RELATED INDIVIDUALS.

TALK TO ME ABOUT YOUR EVIDENCE.

THERE ARE VARIOUS KINDS OF WAYS.

ONE OF THE THINGS I'M INTERESTED IN IS I WAS INTERESTED IN WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY WOULD HUMAN BEINGS MAKE IF THEY WERE LEFT ON THEIR OWN AND I WAS WANT THE FIRST PERSON TO WONDER THIS QUESTION, AND IN AN IDEAL KIND OF WORLD WHAT I WOULD LOVE TO DO IS THE MAD SCIENTIST WAY IS TAKE A GROUP OF BABIES AND ABANDON THEM ON AN ISLAND AND HAVING TAUGHT THEM NOTHING AND LET THEM GROW UP AND SEE WERE THEY NICE TO EACH OTHER?

DID THEY LOVE EACH OTHER?

OF COURSE, WE CAN'T DO THAT.

YOU CAN'T.

IT'S BEEN CALLED THE FORBIDDEN EXPERIMENT PRECISELY FOR THAT REASON.

WHAT IS A WAY TO FIND A PROXY FOR SUCH AN EXPERIMENT AND I HAD THE IDEA OF SHOOTING SHIPWRECKS AND BETWEEN 1500 AND 1900 THERE WERE 9,000 SHIPWRECKS DURING THE EUROPEAN EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD AND IN ONE CASE IT WAS A NATURAL EXPERIMENT WHEN THEY WERE ON THE ISLAND AT THE SAME TIME IN 1864 SOUTH OF NEW ZEALAND AND NORTH OF ANTARCTICA WHERE ON THE LOWER PART OF THE ISLAND, THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE ISLAND THE CREW OF THE GRAFTON WRECKED AND THERE WERE FIVE MEN THAT WASHED ASHORE AND ON THE NORTHERN PART OF THE ISLAND, 19 MEN WASHED ASHORE AND THEY WERE ON THE ISLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME AND THEY DIDN'T SEE OR INTERACT EACH OTHER.

THE GRAFTON, THEY ALL SURVIVED, WHEREAS THE CREW, 16 OF THE 19 DIED AND ONLY THREE MADE IT OFF THE ISLAND.

AND THAT'S BECAUSE THERE WAS MORE ANALYSIS.

YEAH.

SO THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO CREATE ANY KIND OF FUNCTIONING SOCIETY.

IT WAS AN EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, AND THEY EACH HAD CANNIBALISM.

THE ARGUMENT IS NOT THAT WE ALWAYS MACK A SOCIETY.

THE ARGUMENT IS THAT IF WE MAKE A SOCIETY WE MAKE A SOCIETY WITH THESE GOOD QUALITIES.

SO IS THE ARGUMENT THAT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THESE QUALITIES OR WHO HAVE DEVELOPED QUALITIES OF EMPATHY TOWARD EACH OTHER ARE MORE LIKELY TO SURVIVE THAN --? YES, THAN THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FUNDAMENTALLY BELLIGERENT AND WERE SELFISH.

BECAUSE ONE WOULD THINK JUST BASED ON THE SUPERFICIAL TOP OF THE MIND ANALYSIS THE STRONG DO WHAT THEY WILL, THE WEAK DO WHAT THEY MUST AND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THE COOPERATIVE, THE COMPASSIONATE?

HAVE A BETTER CHANCE TO SURVIVE.

I WOULD EVEN TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER.

THERE'S A FAMOUS IDEA IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCE CALLED MASS LOW'S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS AND YOU HAVE TO SATISFY THE BASIC NEEDS OF FOOD AND WATER AND YOU HAVE TO SATISFY THE NEEDS FOR SHELTER AND THEIR NEEDS FOR SEX AND THE NEEDS FOR MEANING AND THEN THE NEEDS FOR SOMETHING CALLED SELF-ACTUALIZATION WHICH IS A SENSE OF PURPOSE AND THEY ORGANIZE THESE NEEDS IN THIS LITTLE PYRAMID.

I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE PYRAMID IS ALMOST BACKWARD THAT IN ORDER TO SATISFY OUR NEEDS FOR FOOD AND SHELTER AND ALL THESE BASIC THINGS THAT WE THINK OF AS SO FUNDAMENTAL.

FIRST, YOU HAVE TO HAVE FRIENDSHIP AND COOPERATION.

IT'S THOSE GROUPS THAT ARE ABLE TO MANIFEST THOSE TRAITS THAT ARE ABLE TO SURVIVE AND ANY ONE OF US LIVING ALONE WOULD HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME SURVIVING AND THE REASON WE HUMANS HAVE HAD A SOCIAL CONQUEST OF THE EARTH IS NOT BECAUSE OF OUR BODIES.

IT'S BECAUSE OF OUR CULTURE AND IT'S BECAUSE OF THE TOOLS THAT WE'VE INVENTED AND IT'S BECAUSE WE WORK TOGETHER TO PRODUCE KNOWLEDGE AND EXCHANGE IDEAS AND PASS ALONG USEFUL INFORMATION.

HERE'S JUST A LITTLE NUGGET TO THINK ABOUT.

MANY SPECIES LEARNED A LITTLE FISH CAN SEE IF IT SEES THE LIGHT AND IT SWIMS UP TO THE LIGHT THERE WILL BE FOOD THERE.

SOME ANIMALS LEARN SOCIALLY.

THEY LEARN BY OBSERVING WHAT ANOTHER ANIMAL DOES AND THIS IS EFFICIENT.

FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU PUT YOUR HAND IN THE FIRE YOU PULL IT OUT AND YOU FIGURE OUT FIRE BURNS ME, BUT YOU'VE PAID A PRICE.

YOU'VE BURNED YOUR HAND OR I CAN LOOK AT YOU AND SEE THAT YOU'VE BURNED YOUR HAND.

I LEARN OH E FI, FIRE BURN, BUTY NONE OF THE PRICE AND THAT'S CALLED SOCIAL LEARNING AND THIS IS RARE IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, BUT IT HAPPENS AND WE EVEN TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER.

WE TEACH EACH OTHER HOW TO BUILD FIRES AND THIS IS EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM.

THIS WHOLE CAPACITY THAT WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY TEACH EACH OTHER THINGS.

WE HAVE BEEN SHAPED BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS TO HAVE THIS CAPACITY AND IT'S AN AMAZING AND WONDERFUL THING THAT WE DO THIS.

THIS MEANS THAT YOU CAN LEARN STUFF.

IF YOU ARE BORN TODAY AND YOU TAKE CALCULOUS IN HIGH SCHOOL YOU KNOW MORE MATHEMATICS AND YOU'D BE THE MOST INTELLIGENT MATHEMATICIAN ON THE PLANET.

SO ALL OF THIS ACCUMULATED WISDOM THAT WE HUMANS CAN ACCUMULATE AND WE CAN PASS ON ACROSS TIME AND ALSO ACROSS SPACE.

I CAN TEACH SOMEONE OVER THERE TODAY AND IT'S MIRACULOUS, AND I THINK WE FORGET IT.

WE LOSE SIGHT OF SOME OF THESE WONDERFUL QUALITIES AND WE NEED THE WISDOM THAT HAS ACCUMULATED WITH IN GROUPS OF PEOPLE IN ORDER TO SURVIVE.

I CREDIT YOUR POINT AND IT'S A VERY INSPIRING AND COMFORTING THOUGHT, THEN WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL SO TERRIBLE?

SO THE POINT IS THAT I'M NOT LIKE DR. PANGLOSS IS THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS AND I AM WELL AWARE THAT THIS TYPE OF DIVISION AND HATRED AND WARFARE AND VIOLENCE AND SELFISHNESS AND TRIBALISM EXISTS EVERYWHERE, BUT THAT'S NOT THE ARGUMENT.

THE ARGUMENT IS THAT WE ARE GETTING BETTER AND BETTER.

THE ARC OF OUR EVOLUTION IS LONG, BUT IT BENDS TOWARDS GOODNESS, AND IT DOES, AND IN FACT, IT DOES DO THAT AND FURTHERMORE, THIS LONG ARC OF PRE-HISTORY OF EVOLUTION THAT BENDS TOWARDS GOODNESS UNDERLIES A MORE RECENT HISTORICAL ARC OF HISTORY.

SO IN THE LAST 200 YEARS SINCE THE ENLIGHTENMENT WE'VE HAD THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL INVENTION WHERE WE'VE HAD DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY AND ALL OF THESE PHILOSOPHICAL INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS HAVE SHAPED US TO BE, IT IS THE CASE, BE RICHER.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS BETTER OFF.

LESS STARVATION AROUND THE WORLD.

MORE SAFETY, FEWER WARS, FEWER DEATHS DUE TO WARFARE.

ALL OF THESE GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING, BUT THEY'RE ALL HAPPENING FOR HISTORICAL REASONS IN THE LAST 200 TO 400 YEARS.

WHAT I'M ARGUING IS IN ADDITION TO THAT, DEEPER, MORE POWERFUL, MORE ANCIENT FORCES ARE AT WORK AND THAT WE CAN'T ESCAPE THAT.

EVEN DESPITE THE HORROR, STILL, THERE ARE THESE WONDERFUL QUALITIES THAT I THINK ARE WORTH FOREGROUNDING AND MAYBE EVEN ESPECIALLY IN A KIND OF WORLD IN WHICH WE SEE ASCENDANT POPULISM AND ASCENDANT TRIBALISM IN APPEALS TO US VERSUS THEM KIND OF POLITICS WHICH I REJECT.

I'M GOING ASK YOU IN A MINUTE TO HOW WE COULD PERHAPS SPEED UP THE PACE OF LEARNING FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMON GOOD.

YES.

THE FOUNDERS -- I JUST DON'T WANT TO GLIDE PAST A POINT FOR YOU WHICH IS THIS INCIDENT AT YALE THAT'S BECOME THIS METAPHOR FOR SOMETHING ELSE AND YOU WERE THE HEAD OF HOUSE AT YALE AND THERE WAS THIS WHOLE DUST-UP IN 2016.

'15.

2015 ABOUT HALLOWEEN COSTUMES OF ALL THING, RIGHT?

WHERE THE ADMINISTRATION HAD PUT FORTH AN EDICT SAYING PEOPLE SHOULD AVOID HALLOWEEN COSTUMES THAT ARE INSENSITIVE TO OTHERS SPECIFICALLY PEOPLE COLOR.

YOUR WIFE SAID MAYBE KIDS SHOULD HAVE MORE OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN TO MAKE MISTAKES AND TO LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.

THIS WAS NOT WELL RECEIVED.

YES.

THERE IS A VIDEO THAT WENT VIRAL OF STUDENTS CONFRONTING YOU.

YES.

I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT.

WHY THE [ BLEEP ] DID YOU ACCEPT THE POSITION?

I HAVE A DIFFERENT VISION THAN YOU.

IF THAT IS WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT BEING -- YOU SHOULD STEP DOWN!

IS THERE ANYTHING IN YOUR OWN SCHOLARSHIP AROUND -- THAT INFORMED THE WAY YOU RESPONDED TO THAT.

FIRST OF ALL, I WILL SAY THAT THE ESSENCE OF MY WIFE'S ARGUMENT, MY WIFE WOULD BE OFFENDED BY THE SAME COSTUMES THAT MANY WOULD FIND OFFENSIVE.

COLLEGE STUDENTS AT YALE, DO THEY REALLY WANT THE ADMINISTRATION TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO?

IT WAS SORT OF TAKING THE SIDE OF THE STUDENTS TO SAY YOU CAN FORM YOUR OWN OPINIONS AND TALK AMONG YOURSELVES, LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND THE MOST IMPORTANT MORAL LESSONS ARE LEARNED NOT BY DEDACTIC, AND THEY ARE LEARNED BY EXPERIENCING AND INTERACTING WITH EACH OTHER AND SHE FELT AND I AGREED THAT THE STUDENTS WERE CAPABLE OF ACTUALLY HAVING THESE CONVERSATIONS AND APPARENTLY, MANY STUDENTS DIDN'T AGREE WITH THAT.

APPARENTLY, MANY STUDENTS DID WANT MUCH MORE GUIDANCE FROM THE ADMINISTRATION ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE THESE MATTERS.

I THINK ONE OF THE MOST DEPRESSING MOMENTS OF MY LIFE WAS WHEN I WAS IN THAT COURTYARD AND THERE WERE STUDENTS WHO WERE VERY UPSET WITH ME AND THEY WERE ALSO UPSET, I THINK, WITH THE IDEAS THAT I WAS TRYING -- WE WERE TRYING TO ADVANCE.

THESE IDEAS, PART OF THEM ARE EXPRESSED IN THIS BOOK ABOUT HOW HUMAN BEINGS LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND HOW THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US AS A SPECIES AND HOW THEY GET TOGETHER AS AN INHERENT PART OF OUR SPECIES AND AT ONE POINT A YOUNG WOMAN SAYS TO ME, SHE WAS A YOUNG, AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN AND SHE SAYS TO ME, SHE GOES, YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT MY LIFE HAS BEEN LIKE, AND -- BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE AN OLDER WHITE GUY, AND I LISTENED PATIENTLY TO HER, AND THEN I ANSWERED HER WITH AN ANSWER WHICH I FERVENTLY BELIEVE WHICH I SAID, DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER, I BELIEVE WE ARE UNITED BY OUR COMMON HUMANITY.

I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN COMMUNICATE ACROSS ANY DIVIDE PARTLY BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THESE TOOLS THAT WE'VE BEEN EQUIPPED TO HAVE, AND IT WAS TRULY ONE OF THE MOST DEPRESSING MOMENTS OF MY CAREER.

I WAS DEFENDING THE NOTION AND THE CLAIM, WHAT I SEE AS A FOREIGN MINISTERIALLY PROGRESSIVE CLAIM, AND A FUNDAMENTALLY HUMANISTIC CLAIM THAT WE HAVE A SHARED HUMANITY AND WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS AND UNITED BY THIS HUMANITY AND THE STUDENTS JEERED.

FROM SOME OF THE STANDPOINT OF THE STUDENTS IF I CAN MAKE IT IN THE NON-YELLING FASHION THAT THE WHITE PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO YELL BECAUSE IT'S SET UP SO THAT THE WHITE PEOPLE NEVER HAVE TO YELL BECAUSE THEIR PREFERENCES AND THEIR DESIRES.

YES SN.

ARE INSTITUTIONALIZED.

THESE PRINCIPLE, MARTIN LUTHER KING BEFORE HE'S ASSASSINATED, MAKES THE SAME ARGUMENTS THAT I'M MAKING.

EXACTLY THE SAME ARGUMENTS.

MICHAEL BENNETT, THE FOOTBALL PLAYER, HE TALKS ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO BE ABLE TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUR OPPOSITE.

HE MAKES THE ARGUMENT IN A VERY, ACTUALLY, POWERFUL WAY SITTING IN HIS CHAIR.

ERIC LIU MAKES THE SAME ARGUMENT THAT THERE IS A KIND OF CIVIC CULTURE THAT'S WORTH PROTECTING AND SO MY ARGUMENT IS THE SAME AS MLK'S ARGUMENT AND IT'S THE SAME AS MICHAEL BENNETT'S ARGUMENT AND PROBABLY THE SAME AS THE ARGUMENT YOU WOULD MAKE WHICH IS THE ARGUMENT THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES THAT ORGANIZING A GOOD SOCIETY THAT WE WANT THE STUDENTS TO OWN AND BE A PART OF.

SO THESE PRINCIPLES INCLUDE THE REASON TO DEBATE.

O OPEN EXPRESSION AND WE'RE NOT A TOTALITARIAN STATE AND WE DEFEND THE PRINCIPLES AND THESE STUDENTS COMING TO THESE WONDERFUL UNIVERSITIES THEY CAN MAKE THESE TRADITIONS THEIR OWN.

THEY CAN OWN THESE TRADITIONS.

IN FACT, THEY ARE USING THOSE TRADITIONS PRECISELY TO EXPRESS THEIR DISSATISFACTION.

AND SO THEY SHOULD NOT CUT AT THE ROOT OF THESE TRADITIONS.

THAT'S MY ARGUMENT.

UNDERSTAND.

HOW DID THE WHOLE THING END?

WELL -- YEAH.

IT PETERED OUT AFTER A COUPLE OF HOURS IN THE COURTYARD AND THEN I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED THAT DAY WHICH I WAS WELL AWARE OF BECAUSE OF MY EDUCATION WAS WE HUMANS ARE ALSO ENDOWED WITH THIS CAPACITY TO SUSPEND OUR INDIVIDUALITY AND BECOME PARTS OF A GROUP, AND PART OF THAT INVOLVES A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECT OF DEINDIVIDUALIZATION, OF ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN PART OF A RAVE.

OR A SPORTING EVENT.

OR YOUR TEAM IS WHATEVER, WINNING AND LOSING OR A RIOT OR RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, YOU CAN HAVE THIS KIND OF ECSTATIC EXPERIENCE, RIGHT?

THAT PEOPLE DESCRIBE.

THESE PHENOMENA ALL RELATE TO A SURRENDERING OF THE SELF IN A PARTICIPATION AND A LARGER WHOLE.

AND THIS IS ALSO PART OF OUR COMMON HUMANITY AND WE'VE BEEN SHAPED TO HAVE THESE EXPERIENCES AND I SAW THAT HAPPENING IN FRONT OF MY EYES.

I SAW THE STUDENTS BECOMING PART OF A MOB, ACTUALLY AND THEY WERE MOVING AS ONE AND THEY WERE -- THEY WERE LOSING THEIR POWERS OF REASON AND ALSO IN SOME SENSE THEIR HUMANITY AND THAT ALSO SADDENED ME.

HOW DO WE ACTUALIZE WHAT YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT SOCIETY TO MAKE THIS A BETTER ONE?

IN MY VIEW, YOU CAN'T READ THIS BOOK AND NOT COME AWAY WITH A DEEPER AND MORE EMPATHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF COMMON HUMANITY.

SOME SOCIETIES ARE MONOINGAMOUS AND SOME ARE POLYGAMOUS, AND SOME SOCIETIES AND PARENTS PICK PARTNERS FOR THEIR SPOUSES, BUT IN ALL OF THESE SOCIETIES, PEOPLE LOVE THEIR MATES.

SO EVEN THOUGH THE MARRIAGE IS ARRANGED YOU INTERVIEW COUPLES IN ARRANGED MARRIAGES AND THEY HAVE NO AMOUNT OF -- THAN LOVE MATCH MARRIAGES.

THERE ARE THESE FUNDAMENTAL RECURRENT, WONDERFUL QUALITY DESPITE THE VARIATION THAT WE LOVE OUR MATES AND THIS IS THE MAGNIFICENT THING WORTH HIGHLIGHTING AND THIS INSIGHT THAT WE ARE SO SIMILAR TO EACH OTHER REGARDLESS OF THESE OTHER SUPERFICIAL DIFFERENCES AND THAT'S MIRACULOUS AND IT GIVES US A LEVER FOR COMMON UNDERSTANDING.

IT GIVES US A WAY FORWARD.

IT GIVES US A WAY TO SORT OF RECOGNIZE THAT THESE THINGS THAT WE THINK DIVIDE US NEEDN'T DIVIDE US, SHOULDN'T DIVIDE US AND IT PUTS A BIG FINGER ON THE SCALE OF THE PRO-SOCIAL GOOD PART OF OUR HUMANITY.

NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING WITH US.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Fraser Nelson and Martin Fletcher about the leadership race in the British Conservative party. Valerie Jarrett joins the program to discuss her new book, “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing.” Michel Martin speaks with Nicholas Christakis, author of “Blueprint,” who argues the historical arc of human behaviour bends towards goodness.

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