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Please join us on Monday, March 19, as Dr. Robin Hanson discusses his new book “The Elephant in the Brian: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life”
We humans are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains are designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to get ahead socially, often by devious means.
However, our brains are also designed to pretend otherwise. We’re reluctant to talk — or even to think — about our selfishness. This is “the elephant in the brain,” a taboo and blind spot that makes it hard to think honestly about our behaviors.
In this book, Simler and Hanson aim to expose these hidden motives— to shine floodlights on the dark corners of our psyches. For example, they ask: Why do we laugh? Why are artists sexy? Why would we rather talk than listen?
Many books tell surprising facts about human behaviors. But this book ventures where others fear to tread: into social critique. Hidden motives drive not only individual behavior, but also venerated social institutions such as Art, School, Charity, Medicine, Politics, and Religion. In fact, such institutions are in many ways designed to serve covert agendas alongside “official” ones. Simler and Hanson’s analysis upends the usual political debates, calling into question the legitimacy of these institutions. You won’t see yourself — or the world — the same after confronting the elephant in the brain.”
|Prof. Robin Hanson
Associate professor of economics, George Mason University
Research associate, Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University
To view Prof. Robin Hanson’s full bio, click here.