Jonah Lehrer: "Pure reason is a disease"

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As referenced in this very brief interview of former IdeaFestival presenter and author Jonah Lehrer, one of the big ideas from neuroscience is that the self-aware, inward looking, first-person mind actively rewires the brain that produces that awareness.

In other words, thinking about thinking changes brains.

The study of monks, for example, has shown that a focus on compassion can re-plumb the wet ware so that compassion is, in fact, more likely, or that "taking rewards for granted" can lead to skewed expectations from children and Wall Street bankers alike.

In the linked audio Lehrer also touches on the human tendency to seek confirmation for existing biases and the idea that emotions are central to decision making. Without them the brain becomes "pathologically indecisive." Have a listen.