• Cover photo for Social Media and the Virtual Cult
    Culture and Society,  Politics,  Psychology

    Social Media and Virtual Cultism

    It is undeniable that people on social media tend to be a bit more…extreme. Some blame it on the oft-anonymous nature of the internet. Others believe the cult-like extremism to be nothing more than an unrepresentative vocal minority. And others still believe that the most outrageous posts simply garner the most attention. Maybe social media users fall into the same “if it bleeds it leads” trap as the news. All of this is true…in part. But there is something about social media that brings out this behavior in even the most sensible people—something that causes our calm, rational conduct to be replaced by a passionate, irrational, cult-like behavior...

  • Evolution of conflict stencil graffiti on Vali-ye-Asr Avenue in central Tehran
    Culture and Society,  Long-form,  Psychology

    New Conflict Theory: No Inequality Necessary – Only Humanity

    Humans crave struggle; a mountain to climb, that we might reach the top and experience that brief, euphoric moment of pride in what we’ve overcome. We desire purpose, a cause for which we can fight, and a battlefield that gives us the opportunity to do so. But how does this fit into a modern society whose primary function is to prevent this kind of struggle, to protect us from these battles?

  • Student body at Philip Harding Harvard Commencement, May 2014
    Civil Rights,  College and University

    Affirmative Action: A Band-Aid on Student Inequality

    Last year, Harvard University celebrated its second consecutive year of a non-white majority freshmen class, with 50.9% of admitted students coming from minority groups. On the surface, this would seem to be an indictment of the White House’s recent reversal of the Obama administration’s stance on affirmative action as proof that the system has yielded what was promised by it: diversity and equal-opportunity in American universities. However, a closer look at how Harvard managed to achieve these goals suggests that these achievements exist only on the surface, as the opportunities afforded by affirmative action are anything but equal.