Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind, How to Become Intellectually Antifragile, and How to Lose Anger by Studying Morality (#644)

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“Shared anger is thrilling, and that’s part of what’s driving us off a cliff as a country.”

— Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Jonathan received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. His research examines the intuitive foundations of morality and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis and the New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind (with Greg Lukianoff).

He has given four TED Talks, and in 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2018 Jonathan has been studying the contributions of social media to the decline of teen mental health and the rise of political dysfunction. He is currently writing two books: Kids in Space: Why Teen Mental Health Is Collapsing and Life after Babel: Adapting to a World We Can No Longer Share.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#644: Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind, How to Become Intellectually Antifragile, and How to Lose Anger by Studying Morality

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Want to hear an episode with someone who was once Jonathan Haidt’s intellectual enemy, but later became a friend? Listen to my most recent conversation with Sam Harris in which we discussed cleaning and reassembling the gun of mindfulness, navigating time and in-between spaces on different psychedelics, new insights about fear, worthwhile nonprofits, the most important four-word sentence you can be asking in abundance right now, and much more.

#433: Sam Harris on Psychedelics, How to Cope During a Pandemic, Taming Anxiety, and More

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Jonathan Haidt:

Website | Twitter


Editor’s Note: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • Richard Shweder.
  • Making sense of assertions in anthropology.
  • Why I invited Jon on the show.
  • Moral relativism.
  • How an emergentist views human rights violations.
  • A turning point: why Jon almost never gets angry anymore.
  • Taking LSD for the first time.
  • My own transformative experience was happening simultaneously.
  • Were my politics influenced or altered by this experience?
  • What being a Jewish atheist means to Jon.
  • From feud to friendship with Sam Harris.
  • Complex dynamical system.
  • How safe spaces and character cancellation took over colleges.
  • Why did the University of Chicago initially resist this trend?
  • What makes businesses more resilient against this trend than colleges?
  • The University of Austin: a catalyst for academic reform?
  • The aim of Jon’s Heterodox Academy.
  • Distilling John Stuart Mill — the patron saint of viewpoint diversity.
  • Aging out of anger and the disarming power of Daryl Davis.
  • How to get smarter, stronger, and more sociable.
  • After Babbel.
  • What the holy and hitched can impart about happiness for the secular and single.
  • What’s happening to Gen Z?
  • Jon and his wife’s free-range parenting style for fostering independence.
  • Group sports vs. individualist sports.
  • A tough coach or teacher tests limits and taps potential.
  • Developing intellectual antifragility.
  • Jon’s billboard.
  • Revisiting practical philosophies when times get tough.
  • Parting thoughts.


“I don’t get mad. I look at systems and I always think, ‘How can we make them better?’”
— Jonathan Haidt

“If I see someone oppressing a whole society or acting in that monstrous way, not for any morally legitimate reason, I think we need to take action.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“I’ve really come to see that a functioning society, it needs a Progressive wing pushing for change and it needs a Conservative wing saying, ‘Slow down,’ tapping on the brakes. William F. Buckley stands athwart history, yelling, ‘Stop.’ You need both in a healthy society.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“Our left is not Liberal. Our right is not Conservative. We’re a mess. But societies need those two impulses.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“What I’ve learned from studying morality is, in a polarization spiral or a culture war, the harder you hit your enemy, the stronger they get. And so you don’t win by punching them really hard. You can never destroy them.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“‘Heterodox’ means there should be a variety of ways of thinking. We need that in order to be successful.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“You really need to seek out criticism. You need to seek out people who differ from you, and then, actually, you’ll get smarter.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“Shared anger is thrilling, and that’s part of what’s driving us off a cliff as a country.”
— Jonathan Haidt

“You get stronger by challenging yourself, by exposing yourself to threats and dangers within limits that you then surmount, and we have to do this with kids.”
— Jonathan Haidt


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