Shankar Vedantam: Useful Delusions
Celebrate April Fool's Day by joining us for a virtual discussion with Shankar Vendantam about how useful fooling ourselves can actually be. It is of course clear that self-deception does terrible harm to ourselves, to our communities and to the planet. But if it is so irretrievably bad for us, why is it so ubiquitous?
Paradoxically, Vedantam argues that self-deception also plays a vital role in our successes and our well-being. Most of us are at least vaguely aware that the lies we tell ourselves lubricate our daily interactions with our friends, lovers and co-workers. But those lies can also explain why some people live longer than others, why some couples remain in love and others don’t, and why some nations hold together while others splinter. Drawing on new insights in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, Vendantam comes to the fascinating conclusion that, if we were just honest about our lies, we might begin to understand ourselves, and our human lives, much better.
Vendantam photo by Douglas Sonders/NPR