Rutger Bregman

My absolute favorite book of 2021. Just read it for the second time because I always find new treasures. Stories about how soldiers celebrated Christmas with their “enemy” in the absence of their generals, about bayonets never used, rifles loaded multiple times and not fired. Why soldiers often didn’t shoot and what can make them kill others. Stories about teenagers (stranded on an island) making up their own rules and surviving with each other, backgrounds that shed new light on some eye-opening research findings about the bad in people (e.g., Standford, Milgram). Also, why we sometimes behave so badly toward others is unraveled: as soon as we live in the feeling that there is an “us” and a “them”, difficult mechanisms can set in.

Whether it’s true or not, I find interesting his thesis that this “us versus them” only set in when people settled down and claimed land for themselves…. So all in all, lots of material for thinking about how we can move more towards peaceful coexistence.

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