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Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind Hardcover – March 18, 2008
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Are we noble in reason? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind -- think duct tape, not supercomputer -- that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature. Taking us on a tour of the fundamental areas of human experience -- memory, belief, decision-making, language, and happiness -- Marcus reveals the myriad ways our minds fall short. He examines why people often vote against their own interests, why money can't buy happiness, why leaders often stick to bad decisions, and why a sentence like "people people left left" ties us in knots even though it's only four words long. Marcus also offers surprisingly effective ways to outwit our inner kluge, for the betterment of ourselves and society. Throughout, he shows how only evolution -- haphazard and undirected -- could have produced the minds we humans have, while making a brilliant case for the power and usefulness of imperfection.
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All the philosophers and economists who spin theories of behavior based on rational decision making, clearly state an ideal that is not inherent in most human thought and action. Most of the troubles in society can be traced to this human disconnect. Our brains evolved over a million plus years to survive in small groups in open, often hostile environments. The last 10,000 years of agriculture and larger social groupings have presented issues and environments that the layered human brain has not evolved to cope with adequately. Hence,for the lack of helpful, useful brain structures we make it up as we go along, and then conveniently forget that we made it up..
The most powerful idea presented is the notion that evolution does not have foresight in considering our happiness, comfort, joy, or overall health per se. Instead, it does not care. It cares about pass on genes, and to the extend of whatever works immediately is fine.
Things like addiction, seem to be a horrible disease and why should it be advantageous? Or how about obesity? Why do we spend over $85 billion dollars on chronic back pain as a nation? Weren't our spines suppose to be able to handle our weight?
This book is interesting in adding on to someone's understanding of the world. At least it makes you think a bit.
It's not a bad read, it sounds bad saying it that way but it's true. That's mostly due to the fact that I personally do not read non-fiction books. I always read purely fiction works. So for me to even finish it without a struggle is, in my opinion, a notable accomplishment on the books part(hah!)
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that affect our lives. Read if you want to broaden your understanding
of your mental apparatus.Read more
Roberto Anez Nava