It’s high time we put the most enduring myths about human behavior to bed, and see the mind—and the world—as it is.
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I'll say a little more about me, not that anyone has to believe me. We each earn what credibility we've got. No one owes me their ears, reading, agreement or trust in anything I say about my life and motives.
I live an extraordinarily cushy life, not just in that I'm financially comfortable but that I've used my financial freedom to buy freedom of thought. I don't have to tow the line at work or at home. I live alone. My kids are grown and happy. I'm happily married to freedom of thought and I don't fool around on her.
I get to pursue what seems true to me all day long. I make connections that some would think are far-fetched or taboo. If they seem true, I write them up. I also change my mind easily. That's one of the freedoms of thought I've bought – freedom to stand corrected, to change my mind. This morning I woke up recognizing that something spent the last two weeks writing, a 20 page paper, is probably wrong and should just be scrapped. It's an extraordinary luxury to be able to explore like that, living the trial and error process that learning is.
I'm not religious but I don't join with those anti-religious people who think we should all be realistic always. I'm an atheist but don't get me wrong. I'm as escapist as the next guy. I like fiction plenty.
To the extent I'm not escapist it's not because I'm tough but because my life is easy. Instead of a Porche, I've bought freedom of though, confidence in my own learning process. I use myself as a lab, which can be kind of taboo in the social sciences since it can contaminate one's research. Still, I find it less contaminating than pretending you're above it all taking what's called "the view from nowhere."
One thing I notice from studying natural history cradle to grave, origins of life to our grave situation, is that life is a white-knuckle ride, especially for humans. Even though my life is cushy, lovely, comfortable and fun pretty much 24/7, it's still a life. I will die. Like everyone, I have to figure out how to throw all in knowing I'll be thrown out and soon. I'm 63.
I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist. It's hard to say what I am, maybe a social science writer, maybe a bio-philosopher, perhaps a gentleman scholar. I present to the world relatively status naked. I'm no expert even though I'm a specialist.
I don't have a clinical practice. I research and write all day. I have diverse academic colleagues. We nudge and debate each other. It's wonderful.
So even if the article doesn't say more about me than about people, I just said some more about me so you know where I'm coming from, at least my perspective on where I'm coming from.
Thanks for thinking with me.
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