The Coddling of the American Mind Book Cover

The Coddling of the American Mind

How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure
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There is a general conviction that our ancestors had it way rougher than us. With the developments in technology and society, the upcoming generation is becoming more relaxed and finding it easier than the previous generation. This has brought about a culture of “getting offended” too easily. Though it is true that no one should allow racism, sexism or any sort of discrimination, it should not lead to complete shutting down diverse viewpoints. We must allow even the most white male supremacist ideas to be voiced in order to counter them better and improve our positions. Only then can we allow the fullest development of our intellectual prowess. In this insight, we see the problems associated with overprotection and ways we can improve the undesired impacts upon the younger generations.

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Lesson 1- Survival of the Fittest

In the twentieth century, the word "safety" generally meant physical safety. By the mid-century, due to a series of events, the United States triumphed at the top of the world. That further meant that living standards in America gradually boosted and consequently the country became physically safer for children. Any form of dangerous products and practices became less prevalent.

Today the youth are competing for places at selective colleges and are under enormous pressure to perform academically, and to build up a long list of extracurricular accomplishments. It is also true that teens face new forms of harassment, insult, and social competition from social media. Their economic prospects are uncertain in an economy being reshaped by globalization, automation, and artificial intelligence, and characterized by wage stagnation for most workers.

Today life expectancy is indeed way higher than it was a century ago and signifies progress in a desirable direction. This is also due to the cultivation of a human instinct of survival that gets manifested in the form of overprotection. Overprotection is a part of the larger trend of the problem of protection. The term refers to bad consequences produced by relatively good social changes. Comfort and physical safety are boons to humanity, but they bring some costs, too. We adapt to our new and improved circumstances and then lower the bar for what we count as intolerable levels of discomfort and risk. Each generation tends to see the one after it as weak, whiny, and lacking in resilience. 

For instance, in the 2000s, there was a trend identified by researchers that schools tend to ban all nut products, including peanuts, peanut butter, dry fruits, etc. It was enforced as a rule to avoid cases of nut allergies. Peanut allergies were rare among American children up until the mid-1990s when one study found that only four out of a thousand children under the age of eight had such an allergy. But by 2008, according to the same survey, using the same measures, the rate had more than tripled, to fourteen out of a thousand. Therefore, the most logical response was to ban any such products. However, such a form of protection caused more harm than good. It was later discovered that peanut allergies were surging precisely because parents and teachers had started protecting children from exposure to peanuts back in the 1990s. In February 2015, the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) published a study that stated that regular eating of peanut-containing products, when started during infancy, will elicit a protective immune response instead of an allergic immune reaction. 

Lesson 2- Overprotection: The Culture of Safetyism

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1- Survival of the Fittest
  • Lesson 2- Overprotection: The Culture of Safetyism
  • Lesson 3- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Lesson 4- Microaggressions: How They Affect Us
  • Lesson 5- Disinvitation: The Culture of Silencing Hate Speech
  • Lesson 6- Violence: Scope and Application
  • Lesson 7- Solidarity Versus Diversity
  • Lesson 8-  So What Do We Do?
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FAQs

In the summary of The Coddling of the American Mind book, there are 8 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1- Survival of the Fittest
  2. Lesson 2- Overprotection: The Culture of Safetyism
  3. Lesson 3- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  4. Lesson 4- Microaggressions: How They Affect Us
  5. Lesson 5- Disinvitation: The Culture of Silencing Hate Speech
  6. Lesson 6- Violence: Scope and Application
  7. Lesson 7- Solidarity Versus Diversity
  8. Lesson 8-  So What Do We Do?

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt was published in .

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