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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Robin's hypothesis is that a similar transaction lurks within our modern medical system, except we don't notice it because it's masked by all the genuine healing that takes place. In other words, expensive medical care does heal us, ...
Now, we don't expect our readers to believe this explanation just yet. We'll examine it in more detail in Chapter 14. What's important is getting a feel for the kind of explanation we're proposing. First, we're suggesting that key human ...
The point is, people don't typically think or talk in terms of maximizing social status— or, in the case of medicine, showing conspicuous care. And yet we all instinctively act this way. In fact, we're able to act quite skillfully and ...
We start with evolutionary psychology, but we don't end there. We continue to seek hidden motives at larger social levels, taking inspiration from Thorstein Veblen, an economist and sociologist writing roughly a century ago.
“We” don't always know what our brains are up to, but we often pretend to know, and therein lies the trouble. THE BASIC ARGUMENT At least four strands of research all lead to the same conclusion— that we are, as the psychologist Timothy ...
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