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TED 2011: David Brooks Outlines Problems With Our World View

David Brooks Ted 2011

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/01/11 04:49 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

From TED.com: "New York Times columnist David Brooks is the author of 'Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There' and 'On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense.'"

Note: Live blog from Brooks' TED talk is not an official transcript, but a compilation of quotes (indicated where relevant with quotation marks) and paraphrased statements. Find more updates from TED here.

On politicians:
They're all emotional freaks of one sort or another...They have logorrhea dementia, they talk so much they drive themselves insane.

What they do have are incredible social skills. They lock in to you, invade your personal space, massage back of your head. I had dinner with a Republican senator who kept his hand on my thigh through the entire meal.

On problems with our world view:
Why are the most socially attuned people on Earth dehumanized when they think about policy? It's symptomatic of a larger problem: we have inherited a view of human nature based on the idea that reason is separate from emotions...that society progresses to the extent that reason is separate from passion.

This has led to ways of seeing world where people try to use assumptions of physics to measure human behavior.. It has produced a great amputation...a shallow view of human nature.

On our "revolution in consciousness":
We're developing a revolution in consciousness...when you synthesize it all it's giving us a new view of human nature. It's a new humanism.

[Brooks noted three key insights that are changing our view of human nature:]

While the conscious mind writes the autobiography of the species, the unconscious mind does most of work.

The second insight is that emotions are at the center of our thinking...Emotions are not separate from reason, but the foundation of reason because it tells us what to value.

The third insight is that we're not primarily self-contained individuals. We're social animals, not rational animals...We're deeply interpentetrated one with another.


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