I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Had to read it for a college course. I am shocked to say that I enjoyed the book. Haidt explains his concepts, studies and research simply and easily with his use of analogies and examples. There were some moments when reading the book when I was just like "MEEEE". It wasn't a pain to read either....Continua
As the author says, we often understand things through metaphors. And the book gives you a great one to explain our mind: a raider on the back of an elephant.
This image is used in the book to guide the reader in the analysis of many "components" related to happiness: love, virtues, religion, reciprocity, adversities..
The book is very easy to read, interesting and entertaining at the same time. It's not perfect, and some of the points (especially towards the last chapters) are a bit superficial and not really convincing. Still, I give it five stars cause I thing everybody
should read and learn something from this book.
This book draws upon the idea of non-attachment discovered by several of the world's oldest civilizations -- to question it in light of what we now know about scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives.
I particularly like the author's metaphor on Freud's thinking of the mind as a horse and buggy in which the driver(the ego) struggles frantically to control a hungry, lustful and disobedient horse(id) while the driver's father(super ego) sits in the back seat lecturing the driver on what he is doing wrong. This imagery will always be handy for me.
One interesting scientific research result that i learnt was that there’re actual mental mechanisms that makes us feel so good at seeing the slightest speck in our neighbour’s eye, and so bad at seeing the log in our own.
I also like Haidt's balance on the idea of non-attachment from eastern ancient thinkers and passionate attachments from many western thinkers. He reminded us that "Buddha and Laozi both lived in turbulent times of their history when life is unpredictable and dangerous, it might therefore be foolish to seek happiness by controlling one's external world." The world we live in today is, however, very different. With the increasing capacity to mold the world around us, this now "seems to be an inappropriate response to the inevitable presence of some suffering in every day life." "Attachments brain pain, but they also bring our greatest joy"....Continua
The book recurrently mentions that 3 things can improve your happiness in early chapters: (1) Prozac; (2) Meditation; and (3) cognitive therapy. While why (1) and (3) will have such therapeutic effect is quite self-explanatory and evident, it does not, however, explain why (2) shall bring about peace of mind and happiness, though those who have practiced it may have no doubt concurring with the claim.
Recently, I have come across a book that offers an explanation. The reason is that when we meditate, we usually focus on a single thought or chanting (in mind) a single sound. In so doing, we deliberately make ourselves fixated at the 'here and now', so much so that any thought that may lead us to anxiety, stress or tension is removed from our conscious, thus peace of mind....Continua