If you haven’t checked out Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, you seriously ought to consider it, if you’re curious to know more about your mental world and those of others’ (just $2.99 on Kindle). It’s a great book that brings out the best of current psychology and neurology. And the best part: it unintentionally sheds a lot of light on, and corroborates much of, ancient spiritual wisdom.
Exhibit A: These passages about money and recent psychological tests. After describing various tests where people were exposed to (“primed by”) monetary symbols (some as subtle as money signs on a screensaver in the back of a classroom), he describes the results and reaches some obvious conclusions:
Money-primed people are also more selfish: they were much less willing to spend time helping another student who pretended to be confused about an experimental task. When an experimenter clumsily dropped a bunch of pencils on the floor, the participants with money (unconsciously) on their mind picked up fewer pencils. In another experiment in the series, participants were told that they would shortly have a get-acquainted conversation with another person and were asked to set up two chairs while the experimenter left to retrieve that person. Participants primed by money chose to stay much farther apart than their nonprimed peers (118 vs. 80 centimeters). Money-primed undergraduates also showed a greater preference for being alone. . . .
Living in a culture that surrounds us with reminders of money may shape our behavior and our attitudes in ways that we do not know about and of which we may not be proud. . .
You have no choice but to accept that the major conclusions of these studies are true. More important, you must accept that they are true about you. If you had been exposed to a screen saver of floating dollar bills, you too would likely have picked up fewer pencils to help a clumsy stranger. You do not believe that these results apply to you because they correspond to nothing in your subjective experience. But your subjective experience consists largely of the story that your System 2 tells itself about what is going on. Priming phenomena arise in System 1, and you have no conscious access to them.
You don’t have to wonder much why a camel has a hard time getting through the eye of a needle.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList