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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/24/11

10 Reasons not to Read This (Political Edition)

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C'mon! Can't you read the sign?
C'mon! Can't you read the sign?
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1. The author is a white male, a group whose voice is vastly overrepresented in the media. Instead of reading yet another piece from a white male perspective, why not read something written by those whose voices are either not heard or marginalized.

2. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're doing so on a progressive political website.  Research shows, if you want to be happy, that's a terrible place to spend your time. FOX news is much more happiness-inducing. Why are you still here?

3.  Speaking of odds, what are the chances that this is actually an original idea that hasn't been done many times over? There are apparently over 126 million blogs on the internet. If the average blogger has 10 posts (this is an obvious under-estimate, but I don't want to do hard math), then there are over 1.26 billion individual posts.  With that many posts, not only is it highly unlikely that this is an original idea, it's highly unlikely that there are any original ideas left at all.

4. There are two possibilities: You're either already familiar with my writing or you've never heard of me. In the case of the former, you probably already know my point of view and my sense of humor, so why bother reading yet another piece? In the case of the latter, why would you want to take your chances reading someone you never heard of. Don't you know how much junk there is on the internet?

5.  The title of this piece is clearly manipulative reverse psychology. Are you the type of person that wants to be manipulated?

6.  In the time that it took you to read this far, you could have written three tweets and "liked" at least a half dozen facebook posts.  You're never going to get these five minutes of your life back. Never!

7. Reading may sometimes be good for the brain (not in this case, of course), but it's certainly bad for your eyes. Think about the heavy readers you know who are "older".  They all wear glasses, don't they?  I'm not making this up.

8. Besides your friends, the internet is the #1 source of misinformation.  The less you read, the better informed you'll be. By the way, the "fact" above is actually a myth .

9. Sure, reading this might seem harmless, but consider the butterfly effect . Anything could happen. Like, for instance, you could read something that challenges a deeply held belief, creating intense cognitive dissonance , which in turn triggers an existential crisis that takes months of therapy to work through.  Isn't such potential danger better avoided?

10.  Reading this might inspire you to comment, which is sure to elicit some responses. You know how that plays out. Of course, you do.


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Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D., is a teaching associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches Psychology of Race and Ethnicity and courses on restorative justice.

Since 2009, Mikhail has been studying and working with conflict, particularly via Restorative Circles (a restorative practice developed in Brazil by Dominic Barter and associates) and other restorative responses to conflict. Together with Elaine Shpungin, he now supports schools, organizations, and workplaces in developing restorative strategies for engaging conflict, building conflict facilitation skills and evaluating the outcomes associated with restorative responses via Conflict 180.

In addition to conflict and restorative (more...)

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