Associate Professor of Sociology, Psychology, and Organizational Behavior, Stanford University
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Finding Meaning in a Fucked Up World
The pursuit of a meaningful life is, for many of us, among the most important goals of our adult lives. The search takes different forms for different people. We look for happiness, authenticity, spirituality, love, knowledge. But in all cases, the search is difficult. Among the many challenges to the individual's pursuit of meaning is the existence of suffering and injustice in the world. How can it be right to work on one's self when others face harder challenges? This lecture reviews research from social psychology that navigates this tension, offering some insights for how to cultivate a meaningful life for oneself and others without ignoring injustice.
Robb Willer is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Psychology, and Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. One line of his research investigates the factor driving the emergence of collective action, norms, solidarity, generosity, and status hierarchies. In other research, he explores the social psychology of political attitudes, including the effects of fear, prejudice, and masculinity in contemporary U.S. politics. Most recent, his work has focused on morality, studying how people reason about what is right and wrong and the social consequences of their judgements.