The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains, therefore, are designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to help us get ahead socially, often via deception and self-deception. But while we may be self-interested schemers, we benefit by pretending otherwise. The less we know about our own ugly motives, the better - and thus we don't like to talk or even think about the extent of our selfishness. This is "the elephant in the brain." Such an introspective taboo makes it hard for us to think clearly about our nature and the explanations for our behavior. The aim of this book, then, is to confront our hidden motives directly - to track down the darker, unexamined corners of our psyches and blast them with floodlights. Then, once everything is clearly visible, we can work to better understand ourselves: Why do we laugh? Why are artists sexy? Why do we brag about travel? Why do we prefer to speak rather than listen? Our unconscious motives drive more than just our private behavior; they also infect our venerated social institutions such as Art, School, Charity, Medicine, Politics, and Religion. In fact, these institutions are in many ways designed to accommodate our hidden motives, to serve covert agendas alongside their "official" ones. The existence of big hidden motives can upend the usual political debates, leading one to question the legitimacy of these social institutions, and of standard policies designed to favor or discourage them. You won't see yourself - or the world - the same after confronting the elephant in the brain.
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But it's actually broader than that. Selfishness is just the heart, if you will, and an elephant has many other parts, all interconnected. So throughout the book, we'll be using “the elephant” to refer not just to human selfishness, ...
This may sound like pessimism, but it's actually great news. However flawed our institutions may be, we're already living with them— and life, for most of us, is pretty good. So if we can accurately diagnose what's holding back our ...
And so, by taking on more of the burden (even if they have to fight for it), they're actually helping their weaker groupmates. The problem with this hypothesis is that babblers compete primarily with the birds immediately above or below ...
What looks like altruism is actually, at a deeper level, competitive self- interest. HUMAN BEHAVIORS We can't always take animal behavior at face value— that's the main lesson to draw from the preceding examples.
It's important to understand what we're actually afraid of here. Many kinds of competition are actually easy for us to acknowledge, even celebrate. We love playful competition, for example, as in games and sports.
ما يقوله الناس - كتابة مراجعة
LibraryThing Reviewمعاينة المستخدمين - Paul_S - LibraryThing
There is nothing surprising or even taboo in this book. What sheltered lives do the authors lead? This is one step above a bloke in a pub. An interesting, articulate guy but still not any kind of expert in the field. Scholarly paper - this is not. قراءة التقييم بأكمله
LibraryThing Reviewمعاينة المستخدمين - Tytania - LibraryThing
I really didn't learn anything. We are primates who seek to elevate our status. Almost anything we do can be viewed in this light, if you squint hard enough. This really didn't add any "a-ha" moments ... قراءة التقييم بأكمله