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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In fact, we're able to act quite skillfully and strategically, pursuing our self- interest without explicitly acknowledging it, even to ourselves. But this is odd. Why should we be less than fully conscious of such important motives?
Key facts will remain taboo, and we'll forever be mystified by our own thoughts and actions. It's only by confronting the elephant, then, that we can begin to see what's really going on. Again, it's not that we're completely unaware of ...
But Veblen argued that, in fact, the demand for luxury goods is driven largely by a social motive: flaunting one's wealth. More recently, the psychologist Geoffrey Miller has made similar arguments from an evolutionary perspective, ...
In fact, we have such little introspective access into these behaviors, or voluntary control over them, that it's fair to say “we” aren't really in charge. Our brains choreograph these interactions on our behalves, and with surprising ...
This focus on large- scale social issues is, in fact, what most distinguishes our book. Plenty of other thinkers have examined self- deception in the context of our personal lives and individual behaviors. But few have taken the logical ...
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