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A Mind Of Its Own

Cordelia Fine

Our brain is emotional, pig-headed, bigoted and deceptive

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We are all convinced we are above average (drivers, for example, even when lying in a hospital bed after a single-vehicle car accident).

Failure is the big enemy of the ego, so the brain concocts endless excuses.

The brain doesn't seek pure truth; it works like a defence lawyer, trying to bolster his own case, rather than a dispassionate jury. Quick to accept any evidence that supports, but contrary evidence is subjected to gruelling cross-examination and then dismissed.

Delusions - Cotard (believing you're dead) and Capgras (believing all your friends and relatives have been replaced by aliens). (It's because a small stroke in the brain has disconnected their emotional responses). They are well aware that the evidence makes their belief seem incredible, but they will politely inform you that in their case it just happens to be true.

Not just ignorant or uneducated. For decades doctors ignored evidence that repeated xraying of children was harmful.

If you want to persuade someone, affirm their best qualities and they will be more receptive to arguments which challenge their deeply held beliefs. Flattery works better than dull intellectual argument.

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