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 ...
Understandably, few people are eager to confess to this kind of duplicity. But as long as we continue to tiptoe around it, we'll be unable to think clearly about human behavior. We'll be forced to distort or deny any explanation that ...
... lower- ranked individuals.10 When low- ranking primates choose to groom one of their superiors, they're less likely to be groomed in return— so they must be angling for some other kind of benefit (rather than simple reciprocity).
The answer, as Zahavi and his team have carefully documented, is that altruistic babblers develop a kind of “credit” among their groupmates—what Zahavi calls prestige status. This earns them at least two different perks, one of which is ...
... for example, scientists would often appeal to “the good of the species” in order to explain seemingly altruistic animal behaviors, like the babblers volunteering for guard duty.19 That's certainly the kind of thing ANIMAL BEHAVIOR 23.
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