2. The Elephant in the Brain - Kevin Simler & Robin Hanson

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00:40:59

March 17th, 2020

40 mins 59 secs

Season 1

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About this Episode

About the Book

The aim of "Elephant in the Brain" is to confront our hidden motives directly — to track down the darker, unexamined corners of our psyches and blast them with floodlights. Then, once our minds are more clearly visible, we can work to better understand human nature: Why do people laugh? Why are artists sexy? Why do we brag about travel? Why do we prefer to speak rather than listen?

Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains are therefore designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to get ahead socially, often by devious means.

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,” an introspective blind spot that makes it hard to think clearly about ourselves and the explanations for our behavior.

What We Give

A summary of the key ways human beings lie to themselves and others without even realising. There are so many hidden ways we conceal the truth to protect and advance ourselves. But sometimes to our detriment.

We work out the useful take-home point and consider the knowledge that is perhaps dangerous.