tv Book Discussion on The Well- Tuned Brain CSPAN January 30, 2016 5:00pm-6:31pm EST
behalf of the institute of human science and behavior at ucla it is my honor to welcome you. we are honored and proud to have with us this evening, a preimminent scientist who needs no introduction. author of american mania, and "the well-tuned brain," which is had book that dr. peter whybrow will be talking to us about. this is a real treat foresee many of us. we have people from oxford, france, and we are just delighted to welcome you this
evening. joining him is dr. andrew lucter who is the professor of bio behavioral science at the seminole institute. he is also our factalty advisor. so we would like to thank -- faculty -- you for being here and sharing your knowledge and exp expertise with us. a few housekeeping items. after the discussion we will have a discussion and you will receive -- if you would like to ask a question, please pickup an index card, and write your question on the card and someone will come by to pick it up.
we will not be taking any questions directly from the floor. if you would like to ask the questions, please be sure to use the index card. after the q&a you will have an opportunity if you have not done so purchase a copy of dr. whybrow's book and have it signed by him. i would like to say a few words about our friends and the open mind program. friends sponsor the open mind as a public service it the community at no-charge. what you may not know is that there is a cost to putting on these programs. we are a ucla support group but we have to pay auditoriums, many speakers come prom from out of town and we have to pay airfare and lodging.
if you have not already done so, in the spirit of the holidays and giving, we hope you will support our organization. we really need your hope so we can continue to bring your programs to the ucla and the last community as a public service and not charge for them. giving tuesday, which is the national day of giving, is on december 1st. it is a perfect opportunity to join the entire nation and support an organization that has given you really excellent programming this year that i know you have all been coming and if you feel it has been benefici beneficial, please support us. i would now like to introduce dr. peter whybrow. in addiction to -- dr. whybrow is the judson brown distinguished professor and
executive chair of the department of biobehavioral science at the david school of medicine and the ceo of the resnic psychiatry problems. he studies depression and bipolar and the effects of thyroid hormones on brain and human behavior. in the "the well-tuned brain," dr. whybrow offers a prescription for genuine human progress and takes us on a fascinating tour of self-discovery drawing extensively upon his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and his broad knowledge of neuroscience and human behavior. please join me, ladies and gentlemen, in giving a warm welcome to dr. peter whybrow. [applause]
>> thank you, vicky and good evening, everybody. good to see you here. this is quite an evening for me. one doesn't usually get celebrated by one's own institute. i fell a little grateful and humbled at all the bits and pieces. they had to move my desk out of the office because they could not figure out how to do this. we have a carpet. i don't know where that comes from. one doesn't know about one's own place. this new book is one that began, at least i started thinking about it, after the episode of the financial meltdown in 2008 because it intrigued me. when we think of our great
country and we wonder how could we ever imagined we exist on debt and speculation? it is intriguing. one might look at it more precisely as a neuro disorder. i wondered if you could dissect from that debacle something that might make sense and would take us out of one realm and put us in a constructive realm into how we might see this into future and avoid it because it doesn't look like we have as we round into another bubble with the quantitative easing. it was a worthy cause and allowed me to bring my interest of economics and history and
bits and other pieces together to find out why it is in mine mind why we don't do better. we have such material success but somehow it doesn't quite work in terms of human progress. one of the things that strikes me is in my lifetime the population of the world has increased -- it has doubled, actually. but the economic output has increased by eight-fold in the same 50-60 years. that is extroaordinary and striking. one wonders why we as a nation are only 4% of the population of the world but we consume something like 25% one wonders why it is we are not doing
better than we are. yes, of course, we are rich. but if you look at the statis c statistics in terms of social parameters and other things we are sort of in the middle of the pact. one wonders how could that be? is there a strange correlation between what we do and the fact that we have certain personal health problems and we worry about the environment objectively etc, etc. in that 50 years, if you look at the world at large, there is no doubt that our health and our wealth have improved enormously. most of the children that we bear these days in the world go grow to maturity, we are literate in general, and very successful. and yet when you look at the u.s., we have many things that
plague us. one of which is we have a great deal of obesity. we are actually one of the f fattest countries in the world where over 50% of people are obese now especially white males. so i think that we have to ask ourselves questions about how did this come about? i don't think it may be -- and in this analysis which i will talk a little bit about tonight i would like to present to you it doesn't need to be and we can do things differently and have something where if we could look forward into the future we can avoid many of the pitfalls we have found. there are now seven billion of
us living on this planet which is a larger burden to the planet than any other large animal species that has ever existed on it. so in some senses you have to think of the age we have now entered as the age of man. we have had 10,000 years of reasonably stable environment. things are shifting. you don't have to worry about whether so much we caused that shift or whether it shifting but shifting it is and therefore we have to thing about how we do something about it. it becomes in the age of pan our responsibility to think forward and to ask ourselves why certain things have gone off the boat. as ogden nash, the american humorist and poet said before dying in 1971, he said progress might have been all right once,
but it has gone on too long. so that is really the in practical terms what the book is about. i think if we wish to reshape the future we need first to understand ourselves and reshape our own behavior. that is the fundamentals of the "the well-tuned brain." if we could accomplish that in this great country we would give great service to everybody because there is no doubt people look to the u.s. for a future and yet we ourselves are not very good at looking at the future. i asked two questions to myself when i started this book and i will ask them to you tonight. why is it that human beings seem
to consume excessively when living in a resource rich environment. the more affluent we get the worse our wealth gets. why despite our growing awareness of these ecological problems, obesity, stress, lack of trust, increasing debt -- we know about all of these things but we don't change them. we worry about them but it seems as if we are powerless to change our behavior. why is that? these are two interesting neurobehavioral questions which i think are open to reason and an analysis that we can bear on them from what we know about advancing neuro science. and i am talking about what we know about the way human beings
behave toward each other and how the brain works. one of the things as i began to thing about these things is one way to think about it is we are caught in a mix match. there is evolution, the biological evolution that proceeds slowly and so does culturally evolution but at different speeds. cultural evolution is more rapid than biological evolution. it is probably if you analyze that you would say we have found ourselves in a stick because some things we have been so creative in inventing have created a biological problem which we cannot fix by just pretending new technology will bring us to a better place. so what i am going to propose to you tonight is that in evolution
returns we have promoted a mismatch inadverently. i will talk about three elements. ancient strivings that seek short term reward. i will tell you a little about that. the material afffluence of our contemporary society. and the third is the efficient, habit-driven brain. all of these things are positive but put together it is the perfect storm. what has happened is we find ourselves in the middle of the perfect storm without understanding it and it is washing away our better selves. that is the fundamental thesis in the book. i will only talk about the first half and touch upon the second
half. the first half is called who do you think you are? and the second part is how to live? both are questions. so simply, i think what we run into, and this is where the title comes in, the human brain is not well-tuned for our modern culture. you know, if you think of biological evolution as darwin conceived of it, and we have now validated it, it is just the gradual process of variation of the species, selection of the biology that is presented to the environment, and replication of that variation. it is something we have very little control of. we might think we can reengineer the human frame but we are actually passive in that regard. so we no longer control our biology than does the darwin
finch he wrote so eloquently about in his writing in the late 1800s. it has no grand purpose. no grand purpose at all. human culture on the other hand does have grand purpose or at least we infuse it with grand purpose. we think of it as progress, as a movement toward some better place. but what i would suggest to you is that is not necessarily where we end up. think about just obesity, which i mentioned earlier, if you mix modern culture; fast food, no exercise time, and stress with ancient biology you end up with obesity. on the one hand you could consider the ability to move rapidly, eat quickly, not worry about opening the garage door as being progress. but obviously it has a d
delatarius affect on our bodies. let's look at a slide and ask the ways in which this could have possibly came about. this is just a -- i have to remember to speak carefully into the microphone because of c-span. this is an interesting slide because it shows the geo gra graphical map and animals appeared at the end of dinosaurs. but who we consider primates are here. and homosapians are 300,000 old
at the most. and when you get to the age of man, the 10,000 years i mentioned earlier, but the age of men really began when we moved from hunting and gathering to living together in various cultures mainly through agriculture. but nothing really changed. this is the inflection point. suddenly we moved rapidly in terms of numbers. we moved from scarcity into abundant. this is the interesting part of the story. what actually happened then? i think what happened was we discovered liberty of which i will talk about in a moment. but we also discovered science, and fossil fuels.
that is the secret to what happened in the last 200-300 years. the change of the energy source. let's look at a little biology. you can only understand the human brain if you think about it in terms of evolution. if you think of it as a cantaloupe melon, same size, in the middle of it there is all of the seedy stuff. that is the ancient brain. the little brain essentially. the brain that taught us how to be competitive, to survive, the short-term brain. around that, and it is called the limbic brain and it does mean border so if you think of the first layer of the flesh of the cantaloupe melon that is the first limbic structure and that
came about approximately when the mammals began to be found on earth and mammals brought about understanding attachment and social behavior. lizards tend it eat their young. we don't do that. at least not anymore. the fact is the way in which we care for each other is a big evolutionary advantage. so that is the next layer here. and in the brain it is reflected in this area you see here. from there onwards it is really just continued progression of growth of the brain which we call the cortex and the cortex being the outer rim and the frontal lobes are things that have delivered for us the
extraordinary thanks that make us human. imagination, the ability to reason, and abstract reason. as hobbs said there is no dog that does not know a horse when he sees. and there is no dog that doesn't know a man when he sees it. but there is no dog that creates a center of the two things. we are extremely enlightened creatures. we are war-driven and competitive just as the primitive brain was all along. and the attachment on top changes the way we are competitive and self-interested but it doesn't obscure it so things need to move together if they are going to be compatible in terms of behavior we experience. when everything is working
together it is an extroidinary machine. but when they don't work together things fall apart. you can imagine the frontal cortex as the seat of reason which is what happened during the enlightment years but the core of it is passion. so the relationship between reason and passion become something similar in my mind -- i tell the students it is rather like a horse and a rider. the horse is the passion. and when it starts to bolt, if the rider doesn't have a good bridle, away goes the horse and so does reason with it. it is also a little bit like the title of my book which i take from js bach.
in 1722, he wrote a book for his students called the well tim be and it is a series of exercise for the students. but it also, on the front piece, teaches you how to chose because in those days the obstacle was out of tune. just a changing weather pattern or leaving it for a few days it would go out of tune. so bach recognized if you are going to have an instrument like that you would have to know the instrument's tune. it was a metaphor but humans understand the world in metaphor. the way i understand the book is
it is like the well-tuned brain being similar to the instrument. if you want to know how to manage life you have to under the interaction and be the mu c musician of the mind but you have to know about the instrument. so in the first part of the book i am talking about the instrument. when we play this instrument well it is, as i say extraordinary. the list goes back to the inflection. let's go back to the point where the biology which had been there for millions of years, super charged in the last 2-300,000 years met with the discovery of fossil fuels. until then we were completely locked into the world's cycle of energy which is essentially driven by the sun. it is what why we experience
when the northern hemisphere where there won't be anything growing and the fact is we have a cycle which is based upon the energy of the sun. that disappeared why discovered fossil fuel. well the people of that era, who are called the enlightened thinkers. they were fascinated by what was around them and somewhat saying human beings could manage by themselves. thomas hobbs, who you see in the corner, he lived through the
english civil war and watched one king lose their head and a few other people die, and he was convinced there was no way in which human beings could manage by themselves. you needed a king who is strict or you needed a god. he thought life was, as he said, nasty, brutish and short. manderville, however, who was a dutch man. in the early 1700s the dutch men were more attuned to trade than the british. he liked the english sense of humor and he would come over from time time. he started saying vice was a good thing. vices were helpful because they employed a lot of people. and he had a little -- luxury
employed a million of the poor, an odious pride, a million mother. the ministries of industry. it is the fundamental nature of the capitalist enterprise he was talking about. he was pushed aside by the english establishment. they said this is ridiculous. we cannot have people doing what they want to do. this was a time when the government controlled just about all trade. david hume, the next one on the list, he was more sanguine about these things. he believed reason was the slave of the passions. he was much more understanding of the dynamics of mind. he was a poetic fellow. they knew nothing about the a t
anatomy but they were attuned at understanding how humans thought. he was a big influence especially on this man adam smith who is the patron saint of american capitalism. and someone suggested, i think meg sullivan, the reason we didn't get into the euro is this thing here, an english 20-pound note where we have a picture of adam smith saying the division of labor pens manufacturing and the great increase in the quantity of work that resulted. we all think of adam smith as an economist. in fact he was a psychologist. he was a person who knew a great deal about human behavior and in 1759 he wrote a book called "the mall sentiments" it is a
profound book that talks about the way human beings really behave. he points out human beings are not quite the same way as vander thought they were. they were not just giving advice. he was the man who invented what we call empathy in terms of our understanding of. he has a beautiful passage where he talks about his brother being on the rack. you cannot understand the pain of your brother unless you place yourself in the brother's position, being on the rack yourself, then you can understand it and in that understanding you have sympathy for him. you are able to create again the feelings which then enable you to be not only sympathetic but you will be able to work with this individual to create a new vision of their problem and help them with that problem. this of course is what we talk
about today in terms of the engagement we must have as physicians or caring individualsmeindividual individuals. we call it various names but empathy is the core of it and passion is another name for it. we wrote book called the wealth of nations and said human beings are self organizing. you don't need someone from the top telling everyone what to do. you can just use the fact they are intimate with each other, as i was describing, and you will find a natural order of things. in other words, you can design something without the aid of a designer. this is the great nature of a democracy. it is different in the way that fascist or communist societies
work where they have an individual that things they know everything and the order is from the bottom. it is the same way in any institution, if you allow people individually to bring their own initiative then you have a stronger program than if you have something just trickling down from the top. he made these points, the famous one about you owe yourself, the butcher, the candle stick maker, you live a good life by virtue of their self-interest. smith argued the way in which a market society should work is that, yes indeed, with manderville, you could let people have their own initiative but it had to be a close nit society. there have to be a close social contract and without it it would
not work. that is an important point. i think what has happened is we have lost the concept of the social contract especially in the united states where we are very individualistically driven. one of my points in american mania, my last book, it was about migration and the fact migrants have an individualistic view of the world. in england, where i grew up, 60% of the population still dies within five miles of where they are born. that is not true in america. so in these complex biological syst systems, a human being being one and the social aspect another, it is the interaction or what scientist call a complex open system. if we boil down the proposal
that smith was making we can turn it into neuropsychological terms and this is how the neuroscience of markets really works in my mind. on the yellow box here, you have self-interest, curiosity, love of novelity, and social ambition. >> that is the engine of the market. that is what makes people go and people get up in the morning. on the ovether side, it is the sympathy, the way we relate to each other, the empathic und understanding and the peer
recognition that is important. we all want peer recognition. if you are a good boot maker, you make good boots, but you want your colleagues to know you make good boots and buy them. that is how it works. this the practice an aberous and hubris. you have the engine here; self love. social sentiment; the brakes are on this side. and when you put them together it is an invisible hand which makes the whole thing balance. but we have to remember it is the social contract between the two things which makes it work. now we come toward perhaps one of the second factors of the miss-match. if you had a society which does not have a closely nit social contract in danger of creating an opportunity for that
instinctual drive to run free and not necessarily to the advantage of the society as a whole. let me just tell you, we are short-term discounters, this is just a very short story -- there is a restaurant some of you may know it in westward called the solei. i go there because i love their french fries. one evening just after the new year we were eating there, i think susan solloman was among the party. we ate and had a glass of wine here and there and the owner, who was a french canadian came around and said you must try my new cheese cake. it is wonderful. flied in from montreal. we said no, thank you, we are absolutely full. and he said please.
we persuaded him. he went away. we got the bill, paid the bill and suddenly he comes running out from behind the kitchen and presents this plate of cheesecake to us and sticks it in the middle of the table and says now you will try my wonderful cheesecake. we looked at each other and i would say in about 90 seconds the thing disappeared. what does that tell us about human beings? we are short-term in our vision. i can tell you i am trying to lose weight and will not eat cheese cake this coming here and not much at thanksgiving. but in the abstract i am very good at that. but when you put it in front of me i eat it because this is the old lizard brain waking up and saying boy, that stuff is really good and i am not going to lose the opportunity to eat it when it is placed in front of me.
if you create an affluent society where you are putting a cheesecake in front of someone all of the time what do we do >? we eat it. it is a very different situation from the one where smith conceived of the modern market society. and we still hold him up as the father of the market society and forgotten half of the what he talked about. look at this slide. i hope it isn't washed out for you in the back. it is a picture of a house. a house i bought when i came from england. it is in a tiny village. my daughter happens to be a veterinarian there. it still looks somewhat like it did in 1777 when the house was built. people had a crisis and a barn
burned down and they lost their wood supply for the winter and everybody was around giving wood so they could survive the winter. it is what you would call a central peddle system. the social networks feed upon each other and it is constrained by climate, geography and time. let's look at the next one. this is today's society. i took this picture in the chicago airport a few months ago. you can see, i hope, although it is unfortunately washed out, but you can see here you have an individual who is walking with their laptop, you have somebody else playing with their cellphone, and here you have somebody speaking on their cellphone and you have the big plane that takes them to another
distant part. this a system where people are moved away from each other. you cannot easily have a system smith talked about when you have this type of society we have now. with globalization of trade, and the internet, initiates this fast world and we have ourselves in the interesting position where we are dependent upon growth for the economy. so in fact, we have to have short term reward and we have to feed it in order to make the economy grow. and without that we all get worried we are in another recession. look at the way the stockmarket is bubbling up and down. everyone is terrified of it. are we going back to another recession? when we had the disaster of the twin towers one of the things our good president said was go
out and shop because we cannot afford to have a recession. we have built an interesting society which is the second part of my three elements in fact. this is what is happening to us. we are actually fostering the short term and we are diminishing the social investment. and the whole thing is moving slightly to the right. to your left. but the third element which is most important of all is the intuitive habit aspect of things. one of the things the brain does is it is extremeiemxtremell e e.
just an experiment here. cross your arms. now uncross them and cross them the other way. i had my arm here and now put this arm under here. difficult, isn't it? that is an example of habit. we have had habits we are familiar with them in the way we play tennis and walk but that habit is also going on inside your head. you are hundreds of social habits you have picked up over the years. intuition which you are not conscious of. 80% of what we do is pre-conscious. many of the things we do day-by-day are habits and we don't think about them. you remember the riot in the los angeles school system? when we tried to move them from
hamburger and french fries to jambayla and rise there was a riot. something like 15-20,000 students said they were not going to eat that stuff and there was a special market that grew up outside for people to go out and buy their french fries and their hamburgers. we are creatures of habit. so if we foster the habits that we have they are very difficult to break. so the question then becomes how do we begin to think about this in a way that is constructive? you know there is another very interesting economist, a right wing millitarian, i am the token
biologist in this group, and he made an observation saying markets don't run themselves. they are not free in the sense we talk about them in this country. what connects the issues together is what he called tradition. the way in which societies work is there is a tradition which holds -- is the glue that holds us to together. that is essentially intuitive habit. what was on in the brain is perception comes in at the back and choice and action are in the front. so this is where the limbic structures, the lizard and infant brain of mammal meet the rational brain of the frontal cortex. this is the basal ganglion that
runs the habit system. it takes us as human beings to develop 10-20 years to develop those habits. initially we just combine together all of senses we have and we begin to understand how to make action. you have seen a child trying to grasp a ball. they cannot quite reach it. they go to it and don't close their hand fast enough or they close it before they get to it. but these actions are the raining of the habits of hand-eye-coordination. the following goes on in your head in term of social order -- the same goes -- so the first part of the book says let's try and figure out who we are, who do we really think we are. let me read you the beginning of the second part of the book and
then i am going to close with a few more remarks. this is the prologue of the second part. how to live? the greeks called it the state of being undeserved with tranquility and peace of mind. to epicurious it was the foundation of the joy of human flourishing. adam smith considered happiness to be enjoyment and the fruit of the well-tuned brain. tranquility doesn't come naturally it the human mind. it is a highly cultivated state through what we call character. trueness awares from the true nature of the world and undertanding the limitations of our human beings.
to attune self command, which was a word smith used, we must accept ourselves for being driven, curious, focused on the short term and ruled by habit. not a pretty picture, yes? you combine that however with extraordinary powers of reason, imagination, and choice. but we are deeply social as well and we need fellowship. the challenge is to bring this together in harmony and mold reason and passion to promote individual well-being into the future and observes the reality of our environmental circumstances. we are privileged to be living in confusing times. a debt fueled consumer society, in promotion of gluttony, and creeping inequality, brings
disinstruction. how do we dig out? fairness, benevolence, and prudence were what smith thought would underpen social order. they are grounded in the bounds of infancy and crafted over a lifetimeism healthy children flourish in healthy families; healthy schools and healthy communities. we thrive in models with humans in mind and welcoming decisions. you might wonder who this young woman is. this is my granddaughter. she introduces the second part of the book. she lives on a sheep farm with
my other daughter who is a sheep farmer. his is her land she rescued. sheep had a tendency to take each other lands because they get so hyped up on hormones before they give birth if another yew gives birth they will snatch the land and take it away. the bonding takes a few minutes in the cold of winter. if the lamb is not literally attached to the yew quickly it dies in the winter. we have the same hormones. so this shows how human attachment works. what bonds a mother, a human mother to the child is the same as what bond a yew to the lamb and what bonds lynn, the name of my granddaughter, to this lamb
that she fed in the kitchen when it was stolen another yew. you see, if we think of, and this is the second half of the book, this is the thing that really binds us together. just think in your mind love is the initial attachment but out of that comes trust. and it is within trust that you begin to see your own ability to command yourself. that sheds into education. and once we get into school, if you have that sense of self-command you begin to learn. and from there, if we build cities and habitats where we can all be talking with each other that is strengthened. and when we eat around the table rather than the back of the car it is strengthened. there are so many things we know about how to build human beings. we know what imagination means. we know all of the things that
create the opportunity for a stable, caring society. and yet, we do not translate that into social policy. why is that? ask yourself. people ask me what is this book about. i say it is mystery story. we know these things but don't implement them. we are the only country in the world that doesn't have the capacity to give young parents an opportunity to spend time with their children just born and go back to work without loosing their jobs. that is fascinating, isn't it? we are stumbling toward a health care system if stumbling is the right word. we can do so much better in terms of thinking. it is not a moral issue. it is an issue of developing the best form of human being you can develop. how do you tune the brain in a
way that is to the benefit of all of us? one of the wonderful things about being here is that we have people the founder helping us see the future. we started the healthy campus initiative and are trying to put in place at ucla this whole idea about how to you create human beings are self-command, are empathic, and caring. you learn to understand yourself and your fellow man. in doing that, i think we created the opportunity for the future. we just started again and wendy
has been extraordinary unloading the healthy initiative of the well-tuned campus but we just started a healthy mind project. and that is something which i think we will be looking to over the next two or three years. and the friends is just an exempilary and brings us together to learn the best from each other. in doing that we will be able to create a new society. there are pockets of these things going on all over the country. but it has to come up from the bottom. it is a design without a designer. i think we will get there. i want to thank you because this is the sort of gathering that makes this change possible. so thank you so much. [applause] [applause]
>> thank you for a wonderful presentations. if you do have questions, the question cards are circulating around. please feel free to write down your questions. if you would like me to ask them please write them so i can read them and i will do my best to work those into the my interview session. before we get to questions from the audience, peter, just to get started with a couple things. for those of you who haven't had
see why this has happened to us. it is not a mystery as to why it is when you reduce the engine of the marketplace that you forget the breaks in the whole thing right isruns off. when you feed it with money goes into the future you are essentially mortgaging your future. if we come to think of it in these terms, it is possible to say, this is crazy. we are reasoning creatures. >> i think this microphone is working too well.
>> pardon me why challenger optimism. we seem to live in a factory world. marbling, we are in a world where nearly half the people seem to think that evolution is just another theory in the world is only about 5,000 years old. global warming is a hoax, the pyramids are built has grain silos and the answer to gun violence is to make them easier to get. so, it is almost as though, and pardon the phrase, belief trumps reason.
how is it that we are going to get past this sort of reflexive in some ways maladaptive belief system that some people endorse and get to the kind of disclosure talking about where we can be injuries no selves away from the cycle of boom and bust that we have become accustomed to over the centuries. >> you heard the right word. it is reflexive. we are reflexive features -- creatures. 80 percent of what we do is have it. he said that reason will and always will be the slave of the passion. what he was saying is what we are saying now, all you
must do is stick it to them and we will be fine. the others as we have got to organize ourselves in a social order that is immediately taken as being top-down socialism. both are saying the same, there is something wrong but they have not really thought through a solution and that they are both top-down solutions. what i think, and this is why i am optimistic come i have no apology for that because i do think -- all of the people -- and these are real people.
renaissance villages in italy. we could learn a lot because they sometimes did not work. and so the stories of the sheep farm for example, the story of -- is a place in culver city public museum of jurassic technology. you will find it in a fascinating afternoon. there are pockets of things going on, and in my mind if
we allow true socialist partnership we will find solutions. and so that is my optimism. is that we have forced it into what i think is a false paradigm that you are either an object ignore and businessmen or somehow a closet academic. >> thank you very much. you touched a bit about children. it occurs to me that in some ways some of the drive that we see that individuals drive to success is in part
certainly in an affluent community not necessarily manifests as drive for themselves but for their children, but in the schools , not to the necessarily competitive for oneself commanded it occurs we are not doing a favor for the next generation by setting an example, the drive to succeed is something we pass along the way that we raise our children. and it is a hard treadmill to get off of because once one is on it and says they are doing this my children
will fall behind. thoughts on how to get off of that kind of personal treadmill? >> it is a tough one. it is becoming increasingly difficult as we have rich and poor people, but even within the effort to make sure one's children can cope and what is an increasingly competitive society, it is entirely reasonable to have them also participate in what they want to do. we don't give them enough time to use their imagination. people are curiously enough just as happy when tiny
playing with the spoon as they are with an ipad. the problem with the technical wizardry is that the child sees the parents working with their parents and you end up with the child wanting to be like the parent going to actually have a similar machine. that tends to crowd out this placesspaces the kids have just thinking about nothing essentially. there is considerable evidence that childhood is different than what i have for example my parents would say get off the doorstep and
get on your bike and come back in time for supper. but we have got i think we have got to ask ourselves that we create an opportunity i think that we make a mistake by giving them too many highly technical toys because it focuses and shifts in the direction which is someone else's. we do not have to deprive them but give them
opportunity to think through things which we might not be thinking through at the moment. having a music lessons five times a week. >> you spoke quite a bit about the importance of social ties. we have a question about god and religion. can you speak to those kinds of constructs and how you see them putting in? >> it is a fascinating topic. i touch upon it in the chapter on imagination.
we are able to imagine ourselves in other places, even other worlds which is the connection we see that others that actually begin the whole concept of religion. it is one of my -- not important but central. the imaginative structure. nonetheless the ethos of the organization of the religion creates a social contract and structure which is important. if you stand back far enough and say this is another facet we get the cave
human beings need mystery, always in which they can see themselves within a larger context which is what it does. >> thank you. we have an interesting psychoanalytic question. you were talking about the different layers of the brain. ego and superego and tying in to freud's psychoanalytic theories? >> i talk a little about freud. not a great deal in this book. he was living a hundred or more years ago.
really thinking about the way in which society was repressive. but what he was doing is resonating with the same idea. a core which is primitive and beyond that illegal because that is much more related to the coaches day-to-day functioning, of course his mind it was preconscious, unconscious, but i do not think it is
quite the same way we think of it today. if you put those together superego is south command, something which smith wrote a lot about recognizing the trial learn self command through growing up to the point where he realizes that he is not the center of the universe. if you read the theories about infantile sexuality that is exactly what he is describing. >> several questions have to do with unspeakable violence. the incredible ask of cruelty, one does not even
want to call them terrorism. people who clearly were outside of the main social fabric how do the theories of your book and the concept of social fabric or lack thereof relate to the violence that we see so rampant, most recently in europe with horrible murders in paris. >> i have to confess, i have not thought deeply about that.
i suspect the individuals who perpetrate such things were on the french and that becomes a justification in some ways for their acts. it is easier to think about what happens here in this country because if you think about most mass shootings, one of the fascinating things which is a mystery to me is that we actually kill more people in the year that have died in the afghan and iraq wars in total every year with handguns. so i'm then you have occasional outbursts of the issue of individuals who
frequently sadly deranged killing others in a squandered way. but this is an example of the habit is back to the 18th century. it would be that we would all be carrying muzzleloaders which might be quite good. it is when you take something which is habitual and turn it into something which is without thinking brought up to modern times that you get into trouble. i think we created a market
society where we do not think that there should be breaks. a free market is when basically you can do what you please. we don't, of course, but regulation is essential, and the other interesting things which i have not really thought through is as self command and trust of each other diminishes, then regulation increases which is clear. more and more regulations because we are regulating ourselves. when you have allow the thing to run amok so that we have so many guns in the country, more guns and people and we are in a set of circumstances where we need individual trusts and caring fascinating thing to
me is that canada has almost as many guns. as opposed to the idea that these things are extremely dangerous. i do not know we can do much about the situation paris except to recognize that it will be a series of things like that that we must cope with it is one of the extraordinary challenges of our time that we need to think about is a free society and how he could
possibly think so easily perpetrated. one thing you spoke about was if you want to understand your brother suffering on the rack you need to envision yourself on the rack the one of the questions here, not sure that i fully understand the will put it out there is what to do about the deficit of empathy in the country. some of that relates to the mission of the french in terms of destigmatize mental illness. people have a remarkable lack of empathy for those who are suffering from depression, psychosis, other major mental disorders. and i think it is hard for people put themselves in the position of those who are mentally ill despite the fact that everybody has been touched for mental disorder.
thoughts about how to increase empathy and society in general. >> a services in the easy. >> empathy but empathy is actually something which begins early in life. i think if you look at the picture of my granddaughter, not to be chauvinistic, but she was extraordinarily attached. and when the sheep had a lamb of its own she was terribly unhappy because she felt she had lost a little sister. only six years old at the time, 500 happened, but you see there the early phases
of the child's integration with the social order and wanting to be part of it and i think that that is what we must foster. in the society where we are busy it is difficult to engage at the imperfect love with children. i say sometimes to my people i try to help and care for, it does not matter whether you're chastising a child or complementing a child, you have to be present with the child because they learned -- think about for example your teachers in high school. you probably come all of you, can remember a teacher you had my school, but you can't remember a word of the taught you. the reason why you remember that is because they are in your mind probably attached
to either a positive thought or negative thought, but it's something to do with the social link which makes you remember which is what a child does when they are looking for the social link in their world they 1st of all draw upon those that they have from their parents and siblings and then imagine. that is what a play games with that is coming to tv and that he always spells is to and so that imagination is the beginning of the perfect understanding. and soand so i think that we need to nurture that.
obviously seriously mentally ill. you see them in local restaurants. serious illness. fact is that do not engage them as if they are real people. there were dumbstruck when i said i'm tired. we had tighter and i went over and said -- i knew her name because they told me, i am doctor why about. she liked to me and said, zero. anion hospital? suddenly the engagement of the person a human level.
no yourself better and care for others in a balanced way does not mean that everything is come by off but that you can be objective about some people in the world being evil. that is true, but if you can learn that about yourself you can provide an opportunity for others to relate in an objective way without disturbance. we need to try to teach that it is something that can be taught and should start early on childhood, and the parental family, and the local community, but even if it is not things are flexible enough you can still on some things.
we are pursuing the vulnerabilities that create mental illness. we need to know how developmental disorders begin in that generation. then we can find ways in which we can improve them. in general we need to maintain a sense of what it is that the human person can do. extraordinary gifts and as i said at the beginning of the talk we have lost some of our best attributes in the last few years as we have been washed over by an increasing frenzy and
technology. if we could change that here in america we would be providing something which was written in the early declaration. we did not like king george because he was from the top down. we like the bottom up and have to be careful we don't slip into being a top-down society again. they can do that as university. ceos, leaders can also caring of the individuals. >> thank you. wonderful answer.
>> first i want to thank you very much, wonderful presentation and a lively discussion, challenging questions. thank you very much for participating in the program. >> a very much want to thank the friends reporting on the program. and to all who have come out and then a many of you come to a number of our programs.