Letters from Home

Must Read: The Social Animal

The Supple Unconscious Mind

On Morning Edition this morning, Tina Brown recommended a New Yorker article: “The Social Animal” by David Brooks, on revelations in the science of our human nature.

It’s such a “social” time for us. I mean, we are all tweetering about, texting and sexting, making friends, then unfriending, checking in and linking in.

Some of us are even being stoically “anti-social,” choosing NOT be a part of the techno-social world, and doing extreme things like going to Bingo games, coaching soccer, and calling people on rotary phones.

Whatever choices we are making, all of this socializing is eating up our time and energy. All our spare energy goes into “achieving”– in our careers, in our yoga classes, in our diets, and our Angry Birds.

In “The Social Animal,” David Brooks is exploring the social aspect of our culture and wants you to know that “we are living in the middle of a revolution in consciousness.” Have you noticed?

Scientists right now are making breakthroughs that will help us make sense of this chaotic life.

“A core finding of this work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking. The conscious mind gives us one way of making sense of our environment.

“But the unconscious mind gives us other, more supple ways. The cognitive revolution of the past thirty years provides a different perspective on our lives, one that emphasizes the relative importance of emotion over pure reason, social connections over individual choice, moral intuition over abstract logic, perceptiveness over I.Q. It allows us to tell a different sort of success story, an inner story to go along with the conventional surface one.

— from “The Social Animal” by David Brooks in the New Yorker. Read more here.