This was a very intriguing discussion. Sobering to most of us, hopefully. I think they were saying that some brains likely don’t have the hardware to support specific logical conclusions or logical maneuvers. Does that assume that the understanding of reality is a line that’s similar for everyone? In this case, only some portion of the population would be able to know higher levels of truth because they are able to persuaded by new data. Sam referred to a logical connection of facts, I think, as sequences of steps in a dance. Interesting analogy. I’d like to hear him elaborate on that idea.
What I found most compelling about that discussion is how neutral persuasion is as a concept. You couch persuasion as an intrinsically positive force that allows ignorant people to change their minds to reflect new facts about reality but being resistant to persuasion might actually be an asset if you happen to start out from the right position. People aren’t always (perhaps often) trying to persuade you based on facts. It seems that the critical difference is not that you are persuaded but that you are persuaded for good reasons. The thing more interesting to me than the few people that are somehow physically unable to be persuaded by facts is that the normal “healthy” human psychology seems to be ill suited to determine when it’s appropriate to be persuaded.
I’m interested in how much of a factor appetite and or emotions restrict or influence our reasoning. Sam Kean’s “The Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons” touches on a very curious topic in regard to emotion’s role in ‘healthy’ decision making. Our ability to know what’s best for us in the long term is one of the potential many things that is dependent on the physical state of our protein gray matter hardware.
It’s a good thing there is no wider point to life because if it were up to us to figure out I’m sure we’d miss it.
I’m sorry I didn’t really respond to your comment. Thanks for joining me in talking about this podcast though. I really like when Sam gets into the mind body problem. I feel it’s relevant here assuming our mental state or beliefs can be restricted or influenced by our happenstance protein matrix we are at the mercy of.
Do you know where I would send guest requests for the podcast? I’d really enjoy a conversation between Sam Harris and Sam Kean. They both acknowledge that we are at the mercy of our physical hardware.