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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What's important is getting a feel for the kind of explanation we're proposing. First, we're suggesting that key human behaviors are often driven by multiple motives— even behaviors that seem pretty single- minded, like giving and ...
When push comes to shove, we often make choices that prioritize our hidden agendas over the official ones. This line of thinking suggests that many of our institutions are prodigiously wasteful. Under the feel- good veneer of win- win ...
When a theory emphasizes altruism, cooperation, and other feel- good motives, for example, people naturally want to share it, perhaps even shout it from the rooftops: “By working together, we can achieve great things!
... and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”9 If curiosity killed the cat, then Kevin and Robin would be dead cats. We just can't resist an offer like this. We choose the red pill, and hope that you, dear reader, feel likewise.
Primates are thereby endowed with instincts that make them feel good when they groom each other, without necessarily understanding why they feel good.15 It's also important to note that there's still some role for hygiene in explaining ...
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