Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis?
Verified by Psychology Today
Understanding what makes us who we are
John Edward Terrell Ph.D.
The facts of life are hard for some of us to swallow. But don't deny the obvious. Our lives depend on how we are linked with others in productive and enduring social networks.
The soft jelly-like mass hidden inside our skulls makes us not only clever and creative creatures, but at times also astonishingly naïve, opinionated, and even decidedly dangerous.
The notion that when it comes to sex and gender we are as programmed in our ways by our genes as other creatures on Earth misses completely the whole point of being human.
What can babies tell us about ourselves? More than you may suspect. For starters, they can teach us a lot about the challenges and the distinctive advantages of being human.
Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and barroom patrons have been arguing since the beginning of time about what makes us special as a species. But how truly unique are we?
The challenge of being human is not how fast or slow your brain is running, but what you are doing with it even while you are daydreaming or fast asleep.
Why do some scholars not believe what we think makes a difference to what we do? Can't our dreams and fantasies lead us to do things we otherwise wouldn't even think of doing?
Living in a world that is dull and boring may be hard for some, but such a world gives us the time to think for ourselves rather than just about what is happening around us.
Seeing is believing, but there is more to perception than meets the eye. So don't just watch your step—also watch what you believe to be true.
COVID-19 may be helping us see perhaps more clearly than before why we need our social networks, and why our networks are more than merely social.
Cultivating the creative side of your personality is far more important than how fast or slow you are on your feet.
We live in our own minds all of the time and must struggle to be in touch with reality.
Being human means we are dependent on one another for survival. Working together well, however, is challenging.
Despite what some evolutionary psychologists today may tell us, the two words "human nature" do not refer to what we must do, but rather to what we can do.
Without implying the human brain is divided, like Julius Caesar's Gaul, into three physically separate parts, I want to suggest that we are endowed with three kinds of rationality.
"A revitalization movement is defined as a deliberate, organized, conscious effort . . . to construct a more satisfying culture" (the anthropologist Anthony F. C. Wallace, 1956).
Locked inside our skulls, our brains have a lot more to do than sit back in a rocker and watch the show going on in the outside world through the portholes of our eyes.
We need to accept we aren’t the highly rational creatures that philosophers and others have told us we are.
Don't be afraid to ask questions and look for answers outside the silo of your own experiences and expertise.
John Edward Terrell, Ph.D., is the Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois Chicago.