Arjun, you are touching on the concept of the Dichotomy of Control. While it's true that we can, and should, place greater emphasis on that which we do have direct control over, there are many things (the vast majority of things in fact) that we have no control over.

From this starting point, as you illustrate, the individual's relationship with society changes.

What do you think of Enlightenment Now? I am reading it as well right now.

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I like it. I don't entirely agree with Pinker's worldview but he's a strong defender of progress and seems to be optimistic about the world. I particularly liked the chapter on inequality where he explains why inequality is “not a fundamental component of well-being”.

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