tv Charlie Rose WHUT June 11, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight be encore conversation with david brook, comnetis from "the new york times". we talk about his new book, it is called "the social animal" >> the research shows that we don't have one core self, we have multiple-- multiple selves. i think the president has more core cells than even most o us. >> rose: he is many people. >> many people aroed by different contt. d i think the strength is he always has the ability to lookt his other selves. and they' all authentic. i'm not saying he's fake, and sort of judge. >> rose: which one is protofor this moment. >> or just did that one screw up. >> rose: david brook for the hour, next. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats e odds and mes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oil is burned. or when meone chas a dream, not jusa dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, support small business. shop small. within from our
studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> david brooks is here. he has been an op ed columnist for "the new york times" since 2003. every friday he appears on the pbs newshour to put washingt in perspective. but his career started because william f. buckley thought he was funny. a parody he held led to a job at the national review. at the "new york times" his columns are a moderate brand of conservatism. some like to call him the liberal's favorite conservative. he likes to s that being a conservative columnist at the times is like being the chief rabbi of mecca. he ialso the best selling author of books that tell us things we don't foe about ourselve shall and our culture like boboes in paradise, the new uppers class and how they got there. in recent years his interest in neuroscience and the unconsciou has cent into his comns. we all know the feeling that when we begin to open the paper and see that today
david brooks is writing about what really interests him. what he calls the enchanted realm of the unconscious mind. hinew bookefles this passion. it is called "the social animal" the hidden srces of love, character and achievement. i am very pleased to have david brooks back at this table. welcome. >> great to be with you again. >> rose: the social animal. >> yeah, we're not rational animals. >> rose: this is an assault on tionity. >> no, we're both. we're rational and emotional. but you know, i live in a world, i live in the most emotionally avoided city on earth in washington. >> rose: yes, indeed. >> and i have been living with all these policy failures, so i covered the soviet union and we sent economists, we covered iraq oblivious to the culture, cover education, for the last 30 years we've been rearranginthe schools but never in the way that touches the real subject which is the emotional bond between the teacher and the
student. and so for all this time we've had a bunch of policies based on a false and shallow view of human nature and i look at this other world, neuro science, cognite science, behaoral economics and they're giving us somethingeeper. and so i said i want to figure out what ty are saying about who we are so we c understand something deeper about ourselves. >> at first impression what are they telling us. >> threehings. firsthat most of the action in our mind is haening unconscioly so the human mind can take in 12 million pieces of information roughly in a minute, it can be consciously aware of 40. and some of that is shallow. so if you out to dinner, if you are alone are you going eat this much. you are with one other person, you will eat on average 35% mor and if you are on three other people you will eat 75% more. and so that is sort of shallow but there is stuff unconsciously that is kind of important that stuff incles how we see the worl how we learn t relate to people and that shapes your destiny. the send thing we're learning is that reason is not separate from emotion. emotion tells us what to value.
emotn is the foundation of reason. the two are inttwined. and so i'm a middle-aged quite guy. not that comfortable talking about emotion. there's a faus brain scan experiment where it's about people that i love and where they take a bunch of middle age guyed, put them in the brain scan machine. they have them watch a horror movie and have them describe their feelings towards their wives. and it's the same. the sheer terror in both circumstances. so that's look at me, i'm fine, that's who i am. but emotion is really what you have to pay attention to. and then the final thing is that we're not individuals who fake make relationships. we're in relationships fst and our individuality emerges. we're deeply-- in the way we talk. you got these three things, emotion, the fact that we are deeply social in relationships, andow much is gng odown here. and it giv you, begins to give you a different view of human nature and looking a the world. >> hence t subtitlehe hidden source of love and character and achiement. >> so you know, we're sort
of the children of the french enlightenment des cartes said reason is first but i think what ts research t doesn't inve new philosophies but confirms old ones and i thinit confirms the british or scottish enlight enment, adam smith. and they said reason is weak. but the sentiments what they call the sentiments are strong. they are trustworthy. and that's one of the lessons here. we tend to think emotions are, if we get carried away by emotion we'll be ruined. and some extent that's true. but our emotions or our unconscious are surprisingly wise. so just trivially if you have trouble making a decision, flip a coin. and then look at the coin and don't go by what the coin tells you. go by your emotional reaction, are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails. and that will tell you. >> rose: sif you know you are happy it came up tails it means your instinct is it ought to be heads. >> unconsciously y process. yohave made a decision. you have made a decision, when it comes up heads then you say oh, i'm happy, you
know secretly i wanted it to come up that way. so another famous illustration, there is a guy, a dutchscientist, h studied one of the most cognitively demanding things we do which isbuying turn door. it's really hard to go into a fniture store, look at a sofa there and figure out how will that look at home. that is quite difficult so what he discovered is you shouldn't make a list, you should study the simmer in your. get distracted and then maybe a day later with your instinct because unconsciously you will process it better. not all disions should be made in this way but is a testimony tohe way that it frued encouraged to us think that the unconscious is a tangled web of sexual urges but in reality what we seem to discover is that the unconscious away of processing the world like the conscious mind, just a different way. >> all right, let me connect you and this subject of neuroscience. was there one thing that led you to say i want to go on this journey?
>> yeah, no, it really, it started, by happenstance you've done so much on the show and once you get into t it's exciting. and because it opens up vistas. you see yourself in a different way. i really see the whole world in a different way. and it's not by research. i didn't do t i'm just trying to report on what these other people are doing. i guess the specific issue is high school dropouts. why do 30% of kids drop out, completely irrational decision. and so when i try to look into that, a lot of those factors which lead them to dropout are formed in the first couple of years. do they know how to make relationships with teachers. if you ask going to high school css and ask a kid who is your favorite teacher, if they give you an answer to that question they will not droput. if they look at you as if the question is insane, because they would never have a favore teacher they will probly drop out. and so a lot of what is important in getting through school is can you control your impulses. and a lot of that is studied by walter michelle and
established in the first couple of years. a lot of it is can you relate to teacher. do you know to build a relationship to a teacher. there is a vast body of research that you have covered called attachment theory. and some kids they, 55% of american kids they have had a secure communication channel with mom and dad and they know how to do it about 20% are what the scientists call avoid antley attached. they send signals but nothing's come back. and so one of the teachers in one of the books i read described a kid who is avoid antley attached walk nag a classroom like a sailboat tacking into the wind, wanting to get close to the teacher but not knowing how to do it and finally standing wh his back to teacher, wanting the teacher to connect but not knowing how to do that. and avoid antley attached kids later in life, the word areas in their brains are less active during social encounters. and at 70 they will have many fewer friends. now the things that happened in the first 18 months of life do not establish a life course. they don't determine. but they open pathways that can be either confirmed or changed by later experience.
>> rose: how did you go about informing your own mind about the field? >> yeah, well, first of all, if you have, if you go to my basement you will see book shelves, will you see aut five or six book shels just filled with books on this stuff. so i just read and read and read and let it marinate and i calledeople and talked to them. i went to some conferences. and just slowly, you know, the way autodiadts wk, you sort of accumulate things and finally you've got enough so you-- basically it's a search like i think a lot of people go on. it's not-- i'm not great at science and i'm not a science writer. my goal in writing this book was to not have the word a a-- amigdila part of it. it is a small prominent part which is involved with emotion and other things. but i'm not writing about where things are happening in the brain. i'm not telling you where it is happening or how, i'm not doing the science. i thought there were so many
important social implications, i'must trying to tease out what should the rest of us know about what this is reminding us about human nature. >> rose: but dow cite studies up one side and down the other. >> yes. >> rose: that inform every decision that your novelist-- istic. >> i mott a researcher or scientist, i'm a journalist. so i'm covering science, or i'm covering this field or these fields, really, a lot of different fields the way i might cover the white house. i'm trying to learn as much as i can. and then the thing i add maybe is i synthesize a lot. and then i try to tease out a few implications for the rest of us for the world of politics, business, education and stuff like that. >> is neuroscience inhe mainstream today? >> i really think it is. i mean you can turn on charlie ro without seeing-- . >> rose: . >> we ha a greatection in our nspaper, science tis. and i really think it's become the field. you know when freud hit the scene, it has had a huge effect on literary culture. i remember looking at the new republic from 1950, an
old issue that had a freudian columnist who will analyze world events from a freudian, the soviet union was in its anal stages this week, stuff like that. but now it's filling in because frankly i think a lot of what has happened is that a lot of the fields that told us who we are have receded a little theology, philosophy. they are doing important work. >> rose: why have they receded? >> i'm not sure why. i think they had less of a public impact, let's say, than maybe they did in the 1950s when you had people, realig public thoelogians now for whatever reason i think we have big pubc scientists or neuroscientists. -- wilson was on the show many times and other people li that. and their work, antonio dimazio has been on this show. their work really informs us. and so dimazio, for example, told me recently that in 1995 there were no panels on emotion at the big neuro science convention. now emotion i everywhere. and so that's aeal intellectual shift.
>> re: you say we're in the middle of this consciousness rolution. what's the consciousness revolution? it is inart what we're saying, but what is it? >> yeah, well, literally i meant revolution in that we, you know, the conscious mind writes the autobiography of our species. so we tell ourselves stories based on what the voice in our head is telling us. but we're learning that voice in our head sometimes is accurate and sometimes is just making up stories. to try to explain what is going on below the level of awareness. and so a lot of the work that's being done is on how we react to below the level awareness in ways we're not even aware of. and so you know, in some way peoples have known about this through observation and when you go back and read aristotle, they knew about this, and some ways a smart retailer knows about it. when you go into the grocery store will you go to the fruit section first because th know if you buy fruit you feel so happy with yourself you will buy crackers later. so these things we're aware of. and retailers are aware of
this. if there is one experiment, you, ich cite in the book where they take some people, they are buying pool tables. and one day they took the customers to the most expensive table first. and then saw, and then down the next day to the least exnsive. and then went up. and when they took tm to e most expensive first, they spent about 55% more. >> i'm not surprised about that at all. >> because you have a frame of reference. like in the wine store many of the scientists state that there are bottles that most of us blei, 20, 30 bucks and always a couple btles, 150, 200. and ey a there t to be bought b the fact that they are there means mosof us -- jacks up what you will end up buyinyou want to be closer to those guys. >> rose: you chose two characters. and you created a novel of their life. >> yeah. >> rose: from birth to death. >> right. >> rose: why? >> i did it for a couple of reasons. one i think best in examples when i can see it in concrete situations. so by creating these characters, you can see it in concrete situations. you can take the stuff that's being explored in the lab and sort of see it more
vividly, i think in actual situations. second, i thought it would be more fun. i could tell jokes. >> yes, yes. >> and then third, one of the themes of the story is at the infortion hits us on so many different levels consciously, unconsciously. and the unconscious mind, the conscious mind thinks essay form. the unconscious mind thinks in terms of stories. so i thought the book should match the subject and hit on various levels. and so what i created, i make the distinction between an all he gory inovel. in a novel e characters are very distinct and unique and vivid. an allegory of the characters are meant to represent things. so these characters are meant to exempt few what the research shows. and so it's more of an legory, just to give concrete existence, so you can see someone feels an upsurge of emotion. someone as child is relating to mom or not relating to mom. learng how to develop
self-contr. you can see it more concretely or there is one case where the girl, young girl grew up in a poverty situation. her mom is suffering from depression. and she has the right instinct which i think a lot of this research shows is that i you are i a troubled situation, you probably don't have the faculties to change it yourself. what you have to do is get yourself into a different environment and let that environment's cues change you. >> rose: in this case it's school. >> right, so she kno there is a school in her neigorhood which, i call the academy which is based on-- and so she demands to get into that school. and thenhrough the structure of that school, the chanting, the discipline, the ganization, she goes from a situation which is cay ot you can and sort of undermining her to a situation where she has the potential for the future. >> and s is of asian and hispanic heritage. >> right. and that was a bit so i could get into se of the cultural things there are many rivers into the mind,
into the unconscious. many i guess i shou say many tribuy tears of the unconscious river. some of them are genetic from centuries ago. so famous one is that men tend to pref women who have a 0.7 waste hip ratio, that is a famous one. but some othem arsocial norms and some are culre. we're all formed byur cuures in ways we're not, we're vaguely even aware of. so if one of the experiences, if you bump into a northern man on the street in a way that em sos vaguely threatening his northern american, his court i sol levels will not rise. but if you say this to a southern man are you more likely to get his court i sol to rise because me of an honor culture. and other famous experiment was done here in new york years ago, diplomats could park illegally for free. and so they measured somebody had the brilliant idea of saying which country did the diplomats who broke the rules more often come from.
it turns out the ones who came from nations that rank very high in what they call the transparency international corruption index. when they got here, they carrd those social norms with them in their head. kuwaities, people from corrupt countries, the diplomats fr sweden and canada, zero because they're sweds, they're to the going to park in front of the fire hydrant. >> rose: so harold is whom. >> harold is a middle class kid from a middle class backgrou. and harold hasocia charm as young man or young boy. but what he lacks is some depth. so through the process of his fe he is not e most ambitious person but he comes to see certain things that deepen him. and one of my favorite parts of the book is the chapter where he meets a teacher who teaches him how to learn. anwe think of learning i think too much as a, sort of filling knowledge into an empty brain but it's clearly
not that. it is a series of exchange. she gives him a book called the greek way by edith hamilton, a middle breaux book in the '50s. and he discovers the world of ancient greece. it is a four step process. the first step is downloading information. so the brain can begin to work on it. the second is repeating it so it becomes automatic. the third is sort of playing with it, journal entries, games, so the unconscious mind is sort of stimulated and the fourth is the rigorous paper writing we are has to bring it all to a point. and he h a moment where scientists have described that aha moment, that moment of certainty when are you struggling with a problem and you are struggling. you can't make it make sense and eventually something just pops into your mind and makeit clear. and that moment is such a delicious moment that a lot of people chase that moment all their lives. they become scholars. and so what i am trying to do there is show the interplay between conscious learning, unconscious ocessing, to show how education involves all this
stuff. >> and their parents? >> their parents, harold parents are commercial people. i have a scene in aspen, the affluent and shallow coup well they are so tall and slender they dot have-- just one egant-- on top of the other. they have dogs, in certain superrich circles t is now fashionable to have dogs as third as tall as your ceiling height so they have the git fury velociraptors with jane austin names so there is a little social i there. and then erica's parents are, one of the fathers is mexican american, the other chinese you get toee a little of the mental illness and the effects of mental illness which is actually events in tucson have swn us we are really just beginning to come into terms with a lot of that stuff. 's funny i wasat national institutof health not long ago with a bunch of
neuroscientists and there is like, in a lot of these fields, they climb a mountain and think we are about to understand this. and then they realize it is a lot more complicated than we thought. there is like a shape to the learning curve and say it's going to be a long time. the mind is endlessly complicated. a hundred billion neurons, incredible number of connections, so much going on. and we are just beginning to understand. >> yeah. and th's what is exciting. when i started the book i really thought there are all these great brain images from the mri machines. and i think the future is there, in that stuff. but so far i think we're just so early on that it's ha toake stuff that's in themri beautiful images an translate that into behavi because the brain is so complicated. so we should always be cautious about trying to translate brain imagery to behavier. but some day we'll learn a lot more about it. >> it's called the hidden sources of love, character and achievement. let me talk about love and then achievement and then about character.
there is a moment in whar old and erica feel something. and you describe that as an unconscious thing. >> yeah. >> rose: . >> the mind, when we fall in love, one of the things dimazio teaches us is that love is not separate sort of decision-making. it's a normal but more powerful sort. both rational and unrational. when we fall in love, when we meet somebody, we're making all sorts of sort of rational connections. we're evaluating each other's status on a first date and one of the famous experiments shows that this is on-line date offers this is germane to short guys like me, a guy who is 5 foot 6 can get as many on-line date offers as a guy who is 6 foot so long as he makes $172,000 a year. so women are not conscious. they are makinghis choice but their atus comes into it. >> but then wn things begin to match, and this was certainly true in my life, i think is true in most. when you meet someone, it's ke a miracle, it's amazing
like my wife and i had the same posters on our wall. and so you think oh, wow. >> rose: what werehose posters. >> it was actually this is embarrassing. it was a hubert humphrey poster. and mine was, the poster said some talk change others cause it because even as a young man i knew i only wanted to talk change. hers was auto greated-- autographed. her father worked for humphrey. >> rose: and their life turned out to be reflected, your characters life turned out to be reflective of those two ambitions, harold wrote about change. he was a scholar and she was active and moved from business into politics. >> but when we fall iove, a lot of , i say is rational is so people marry people with nose widths of similar witt, immune systems tend to be complementary but then you get caught up in this process, i quote stenl had a great concept called crystallization. these austrian miner was
take sticks, put them in a mine and come back weeks later and they would pu the sticks out an crystals had form on the sticks and they would glimmer. and he says this is what we do to the beloved. we igine them as enchanted. and that is the way, some of theesearch meshes with the literature that it shows how, and how love is a need. it's a motivational state. 's not an emotion. it is a need for the other person. and one of the things that illustrates is consciously we want money and prestige and all that stuff. bu unconsciously i think the primary goal, i use this word limerance, it's to lose the skull line and to merge with something larger than ourselves, to merge with another. >> rose: we want a connection. >> we want such a total connection that we forget ourselves. so whether a craftsman is lost in the craft, a naturalist in nature, a believer in god's love, we want to be dissolved. and there is sort of a hunger, we have all these internal models in the mind of what reality should be. and when the internal model
its and external models match, that's the blissful to whole life. >> rose: so you a republican intellectual, a columnist and journalist. what have you disolved into. what is the larger connection for you? >> it is the moments in, you know there are certain moments at a baseball game where you are in crowd. >> rose: but that's not what you do. that's not like a krafertsman, you talk abo golf too. >> it's for me it's writing. i have known i've wanted to be a writer since second grade. in high school there was a woman who wanted to te/else instead of me. i said what does she see in that guy,'m a way better writer than that guy. and in moments of writing, sometimes you forget who you are. you are just writing. it doesn't happen often enough but for me that's the goal. >> rose: and did you want to write fiction or nonfiction. >> i wanted to write fiction and then a playwright. i'm not really good-- once i got into reporting i could see the stuff.
>> rose: i'm to the good at thinking abstractly. but is part of what ar you talking about here abstractions? >> but i understand them through concrete situations why i quote all these experiments about the se widths becau to me it helps me understand the concept. so a philosopher can talk about abstractions and do a logical structure but i just need to see it and reporting does that. i think the neuroscience is valuable for doing that, the social science i should say is broader than neuroscience, is useful because they are trying it out and yielding data. and they can, they are trying things. and you can see t experiments. some of the experiments are phenomenally clever to illustrate various things. and you know, so for example one of the talk about the importance of emotion, one of dimazio's very early and famous experiments there is a patient who suffered a stroke, lesions, can't experience emotion the way we do. and dimazio, he i says the patient come back next week we'll schedule an appointment. and the guy spends 20 minutes or so deciding the merits o tuesday or wednesday. he can't make up his mind
because his emotions can't value one over the other. it is just an endless circle. >> rose: because they have been damaged by -- >> well, he had strike in this case. and so the lesson is without emotion we can't assign value to things. we don't know what we want. and so we can't make decisions. and so there's a concrete example where i can understand sort of what he is talking about. >> rose: what does t unconscious have to do with achievement? >> well, it has a lo lot-- residence and mer outocracy. >> ihink we have this giant distortion in our culture where we talk about things that we can count and measure. there is this great distinction between clouds and clocks. clouds are things we can-- i mean clocks are, clouds are things that are dynamic. we are really good at talking about clouds-- i mean clocks, not clouds, because we can take it apart so with childhood we tend to emphasize grades and sats scores and professional skills. and these thin matter obviously. but lot of what matters to lifetime achievement are
these other traits, can you detect patterns in an environment. request you attune to others so you can learn what they have to teach you. are you open minded? can you weigh the stngth of your beliefs to the strength of e evidence? these are al things that are hard to count. but they're just tremendously important how we succeed. and also how you perceive the future. getting gary mcpherson who did a research. he tookidsk hat were just starting the violin and he wantedhem to -- he wanted to figure out who was going to get good. and who was not. and he so he measured their ability with music. and that was not a great predictor. he measured all sorts of other stuff that was not great predictors but the thing th was a great predictor when he started the violin, he asked them how long are you going to play. some kids said i may fuel around for a coue of years. some kid said i think i will do this steadily. and then a few kids said i'm a violinist. i'm go to play the rest of my life. those kids who walked in with that identify, they did
really well. and so a lot of it is who do you think you are. and that comes through in many different forms. >> isaac stern once told me a story about how do you find the people who really have the passion for it. he said when they do an oddician for you, they say sit down and listen to me play there is nothing about they know who they are. they want you to hear them. and then that internal confidence and passion for the instrument. >> right. >> and they will do what it takes. so aside from all this -- >> but that suggests hard work. >> right. >> rose: and that's an emotional thing? the dedication to work is comes fromemotion, from -- >> well, you know, one of the things that a lot of things that-- we have these cateries, emotions, i think in 50 years people have different categories. i think they make sense because emotion refers to a lot-the word is used in so many different ways but some people have the ability to you know andre agassi can play tennis eight hours a day. one of the things i cite in
the book a lot of it is the 10,000 hour stuff. >> and there is gladwell and others. >> right. and so there is a famous tennis academy where they play tennis for the starters without a ball. they just swing the racket and you just have to doggedly work on your form, work on your form, or a music camp where they play the music but they play each piece so slowly that if you can see, perceive what song it is, you are going too fast. and the thing is to make you doggedly learn the form. and that takes repetition. and what you are doing with that is you are taking something that was conscious and you are ought mat sizing it. are you taking it so deep that you don't have to think about it. >> which is what wdo n when we drive, while we are talking. we don't really realize what he with are doing. >> rose: so in terms of achievement and hard work and all of tt. how much, how do you find those that have the sheer drive to excel, to be the best? whe does that come from?
>> well, it comes from many different places. one of the studies i mentioned in theook is an amazing number of people who lost their fathers at age 10 to 12 are incredible achiers. for good a bad, you know, stalin to many of our founding fathers. and the one ofhetheoes ishey grew up with a sense of vulnerability that everytng could be taken away very rapidly. and there is a hunger to establish one's se. but that esn't apply to everybody. i don't think there is one rule that applies to everybody. but i dohink what great achievers have is that hunger for just to be lost in the craft. actually, i love the movie social network, i really thought it was a fine movie. but one of the nice points zuckerberg made in reaction was the movie acts as if-- . >> rose: in talkinabout the social network. >> right. >> rose: not the character in the movie. >> no, the real guy. he said they treated it as if it was just trying to get girls or something. the movie doesn't quite understand how mh fun it is just to get the code right.
and that hunger for that moment when oh, i got it. that's just-- . >> rose: but i don't know where that comes from, that is what i'm asking. that hung tore get the code ght. >> well, which would say it's the hunger to be what you are. >> to be -- >> whayoure. not the best, not everybody else, just to be what you are. >> in other words, you're running against yourself. >> you're running against this model in your head. we have theseaps orearol maps, whatever you want to call it and we don't really know the physiology of it. but when it is matched, when our predictio for the world, when our vision for the world is fulfilled, then we get a surge of pleasure. and this starts with animal life where when a monkey is looking a little juice pellet in his cage, and he expects the juice pellet, then it comes, my expectation is fulfilled. i get a little surge of whatever, of pleasure juice. and so we have models we're
anticipation machines. we anticipate. and so we have in our head of who we should be, what we want to be doing and we're chasing that. and when it is fulfilled, u get that surge of pleasure. so for example one of the things i mentioned in the book is people are extremely sensitive when somebody like themselves achieves something great. something i in common. so in the bo erica my woman who is half hispanic, half chinese american, she's in high school a a hispanic woman businessperson comes it to the place. and that is just -- >> she is immediately attracted. >> that is like me, i could be tt. >> and i will be there. >> right. and so there are famous cases of andruw jones, and because he made it from this little island, baseball spread. it's oh i'm like that. d i can be that. and so we sort of see the model and then internalize. >> so erica is married to harold and then has an
affair. now what does that subconscious tell us about that? >> right, and that's my chapter where i deal with a lot of research that has been done on morality by people like jonathan and her people like that. >> right, so she has an affair. we have this folk wisdom about how we make moral principleses. it is basically we think throh-- we hav these intellectual principleses about what justice and fairness is. and then we think through moral quandaries. and we arrive at rational conclusions, that is what is moral and just. and that i sort of the conscious mind making itself the star. but in reality that's not how we experience morality. we have these moral intuitions. and so one of the experiments is they put on a sweater that they say this was hitler's sweater. would you put it on. nobody wants to put on hitler's sweater because they would feel contaminated. we have immediate moral intuitions. immediately most people immediately have a ral revulsion at the thought of incest. you don't have to teach a three-year-old kid what unfairness is.
they kw what unfairness is. so we are born with this moral senses. >> rose: born with. >> well, yeah, this i think we are born with, at least in early form a sense of fairness. a sense of purity. a sense of-- in group, out group. >> rose: do we know where it comes from. >> ion't know where in the brain. i trieto stay away interest that. at is the scientists job. but various other pple have tried to define what these e. and they have vario experiments usually involving trolleys where they try to experiment. >> we know that is the experiment we talked about on this show. and so but thelesson is, and i use the to illustrate the wave of shame that sweeps over her, to show how the moment of the adultery was not the passionate moment t was the moment of regret afterwardsthat actually more emotional. so we see the world differently one second to another. and we i think we are born with a certain, and it would make evolutionary sense to
have a very strong sense of fairness. to have a strong sense of in group and out group. and this they have measured various neuroscientists where we see somebody of our own group suffering pain there are sharp reactions, when we see somebody in an out group suffering pain t is much less, much less. and this is where a lot of problems in the world come from. >> rose: about this point in this conversation someone is listening to the two of us and they're saying the following thing. i hear you. mr. brooks, talk about the power of the unconscious. tell mhow the power of the unconscious can be influenced andhat influence do i have on it. >> i'm glad you asked that because one never wants to leave the impression that it is beyond our control. we have free will it maye more bounded than we thought but we certainly havehe ability to change who we are. but we do it in sometimes in indirect ways. you have the ability to choose yr environment. so if you can choose going to the marine corps or goi to berkeley, those will be
different environments and they will influce you in different ways. you have the ability to choose-- . rose: but that's like understanding the impact, culture can have on you in choosing one over the other. >> right and once you go in the marine corps will you be influenced in ways you may t understand but will you be influenced. >> rose: because you have made a decision. >> a decision to go one way or the other. the other is to change your behaviour. one of the lesso of this research, onof the foundations of what i learned is a guy named tim that-- timothy wilson from the university of virginia. he emphasizes that to change your mind you change your behaviour. alcoholics anonymous have the saying fake it until you make it. and so if you chae your behaviour, then slowly that will rewire the way you think. and so somebody recently asked me about who is the real me. i behave in a certain way but the real me is dierent. i'm not quite clear sure i believe that. the secretary thing is you really have the por to influence who you will be surrounded by, or surrounded by anone of another and
powerful and across many spheres is the tremendous wer of our peers to influence us in ways we don't understand. so our obesity, our fitness, very powerfully influenced by who we happen to be with. >> one of the things we do as i mentioned and this is a controversial concept but the concept of which is that when i see you pick up a glass my brain acts as if it is picking up the glass. it is reenacting. and so like when we watch a porn movie it is acting as if we are having sex but hopefully not quite the same way. and so if i pick a glass to drink, your brain reacts one way, if i pick it up to wash it, to put it in the dishwasher, it reacts in a different way. so you are instantly observing but also judging the intention behind the action. and that's one of the ways we show how deeply interpenetrated we are. and so when we look at peoplewe absb what they have to teach us. that is what, it is simply early on, i think in 79y or 80, he leans over a baby the
43 minutes old, wags his tongue at the baby. the baby wags her tongue back so we are born with this desire to connect. we do that because we need to borrow the models that are in the head. and so we ca dthat with people around us. but we can also do it with people without died hundreds of years ago. and onof the things you know, the book is about social animals. but it doesn't, you don't have to be a gregarious party animal. a lot ous eecially some of us write have more social interaction with people who died 100 of years ago whose books we cherish. and they can aect us powerfully. in ways that may a teddy roosevelt or one of my characters sorof relates to -- >> who would that be to you, david brooks, the characters that you connect with? >> well, there would be-- edmund burke, but there would be, we all have so many characters flowing in, woody allen would be in there, bruce springsteiwould be in there, tom siever might be in there. >> rose: say you have a great teacher, you do learn the content but mostly what
you learn is a way of being in the world. and so if you study f you were around, if you admire teddy roosevelt there is a way of being. often you can't put this into words but it is there greatly. >> physicality. >> and there is a woody allen figure you want to be a funny neurotic guy. you just want to be funny. so there are certain ways of being. i took a class, i didn't take a class but sat in on a class by a guy who became famous later, allen bloom. >> and so i remember, i would come periodically because he was such a great character. at the beginning of the term everyone lked like nmal students. by the end they all wore the same shoes, the same white shirts, smoked the same marlboro. he just had this effect. and strong psonality. >> one observation of your book who compared this to allen. >> yeah. >> i didn't quite get that. allen bloom was a superhigh intellectual. and i'm not quite clear sure i'm like that. but it is a book i guess
like bloom. >> i think they were talking more about what he wrote rather than the quali of his intellect. >> he doesn't like rock musi i really like rock music. i guess one of the thins -- >> but he clarely had an influencon new. >> well, i think his book, actually, the book that didn't make a big splash was called love d friendship, subsequent book and that's a beautiful book. is book is vy peal imitation of a ruseau book, which is -- >> but everybody that looks at this and sees how you have done this book and creating these characters look at ruse owe and emile and say there is the model that he chose to present what he wanted to tell us about -- >> i stole the form without trying to match who rousseau was. >> there is forebook i didn't put in the book, maybe i should have. i found this in my folk's house, a 1990s guide book to new york. and it's told through a young woman walking through new york and seeing what new york looked like in the 1890s. and there is one scene she
is walking down columbus avenue on the upper west side of new york and sees guy drinking a beer. and a cop goes up to the guy and says if you want to drink that beer, go over to amsterdam avenue. weon't bring beer on columbus avenue. i remember that little story was so real that that is what i was sort of trying to recapture in thebook. >> when you set out to do this, you had one problem, i would assume. tell me whether you dealt with this issue. which is you want to have all the current science. >> right. >> rose: y want to view these characters through everything we know today. >> right. >> rose: on the other hand you want to take them from bih until deh. >> right. >> rose: how do you solve that problem. >> it is alway they're born and they go thugh eir lives. it's always 2011 and so-- . >> rose: it's always today because you want to be at the cutting edge of knowledge. >> that is why i say this is an allegory, not a novel. i'm just using the characters to illustrate the research. if it was a novel they would ide skin cratic like anybody else on earth.
but these characters are representing the research, there to teach you or help you see what the research tells you. >> rose: where is spirituality in this, part of this fear. >> and one of the nice things about the research, it seems science and it would be called-- it is really enchanted. it opens you up to spitual exrience it does not solve the question of whether goode exists. i don't think it is ever going to do that. because i think, but maybe they will figure it out, we don't know how this three pounds of meat creates emotion or how emotion rewires the meat. but that's sort of a divine act of creation. >> rose: that's where we've just begun. >> but we can, you can see the mechanism throughwhich spiritual states happen. so there is scientist med andrew newberg who studies people who are under meditative trances. and they have different brain functions depending on the theology, funly en are in a meditative transthey lose, they achieve a sense of oneness. and according tohis research, the par of the brain that allows us to be
are of where our bod is, th becomes less active. and so you see the mechanism. and a loof the neuroscientists are very-- a lot of them are sort of materialistic. maybe atheist, there is diversity but they have a respect for meditation, for dali lam, they go to tibet and-- . >> rose: it is almost how to-- they look at t i think, in terms of some process to unleash. >> right. >> rose: the self-conscious. >> or to see it so daniel seigel one of the scientists, researcher says it's like you are traveling through the city with a flashlight. and you can see a part of the reality very brightly. but then you turn off the flashlight and you can see everything dimly. and when you can shut down your conscious mind are you turning off the flashlight and you are aware of a lot more it may not be as bright but yourawareness widens. and that's what achieves in a meditative state it may be though, they d't really know ts, what early
childhood is like. allison gothnick who has been on this program, talks about this. >>ose: speaking of childhood there used to be sort of childhood adolescence, adulthood and death, i guess. >> those were the four stages. you have now added the odyssey yearas well as something that com before, i think retirement years which comes before death. >> right. >> rose: so what's that about. >> odyssey years is a thing a lot of people are writing b i have given it a title in a column about five or six years ago testimony used to be thasay in the '70s, most people had achieved the basic, what we would call the elements of adulthood, having a job, being financially self-supporting, getting married, having kids, by say 27. most americans. now a very small minority has achieved that by 27, even 30. people are pushing that out. and so now people are marrying later, having kids later. so this long period in the 20s where people are just flitting around, searching
for stuff, while their parents are slowly going crazy going settle down, do someing. but i actually think they're doing the right thing. because the world is just more complicated. there are a lot of complicated jobs out there. and it's best to go through life trying to figure out what you want. and in the book one of the things i use for that section is trying to figure out what happiness is. and the characters try to use those years to figure out what is happiness. and we have sort of a debate in theociety over what happiness is. there is sort of the on the road theme which is oh, just be free. and then there is the it's a wonderful fe theme which is have family, settle down. anthe research, i think, suggests the it's a wonderful life. settle dow the deeper your connections. >> rose: those are the happy people. >> marriage famously is the number one thing that contributes to happiness. and then the aivities, the daily actities which contribute to happiness, daniel-- and kegerthers have done this research, is like eating out with friends. >> rose: so it's connections. >> yeah, it's very simple,
connections. and money helps to degree though it levels off after a point. and then the daily activity according to their research which is most harmful t happins is commuting. being alone and commuting in the car. because are you alone. >> rose: what is all this a loneness do to you, what is the consequence of being alone. >> it has-- people have done a vert of research this. it has amazing affects. loneliness, stress, illness. >> ros being alone a loneliness are the same things with no, absolutely not that is a good point. but you are safer to be around others. >> rose: exactly. >> suicideates, things like that. >> rose: what did you do when there was conflicting studies? how did you decide in your -- >> well, i tried to playt safe. so i get on the e-mail lists and i try to not use individual studies. i try to rely on books and
things that the giants in the field have written to sort of sort the field out. and i try to be safe there were times when this was frankly impossible. the field is so dispacious. and there are so many different ings about the role of iq and other things. it's often hard to find one thing every one will agree on. and there are times when i'm sure people will say i hired a fact checker, an academic to read through it so i wouldn't make any grocer rohrs. but i'm sure they are in there i did my best. but i'm covering so many different fields that i'm sure there are things that i didn't capture where sort of the mean of the field is or maybe i was o to one side or another. and but that's just the nature of the beast. but there are generally what you try to do is play it safe. not do the cutting edge research which we can't replicate but do the basic fundamentals. and a big lesson -- >> and people who are credentialed not some of because they have a ph.d from harvard, bu because they have in the community
of people who are wise about this. >> right. >> some credibility. >> and the things you take away i think are basically elemental, the power of unconscious and emotion, i think they would agree on these foundation >> so if you walked into the oval office, you know where i am going andpresident oba says to you i hear you have written a new book, david, tell me about it. and you say yes, mr. president, the social animal this is what it is about. all about the unconscious and how much more powerful it is. and he says so how is it relevant to my presidency within yeah. >> rose: would you say? >> i would say well, you remember, mr. president, when you told mabout the marshmallow experiment, we we having a meeting ande stard talking to me about this experent. >> rose: is that the first time you knew about it. >> i few about it earlier but he was very-- he wanted me tknow he knew about it. >> rose: did he want you to know about it because he knew about it from you or he knew about it. >> i think he knew about it otherwise. but he knew i cared about it. because it was pie avenue into this work. >> rose: what did that say about him that he knew something you knew? whatever it is, what does
that say about him, because his whole dn book is about emotion. >> well, for somebody's whose emotions are hard to read, i would say that is barack obama. >> rose: go ahead. >> so one of the things. the research shows us, we don't have one core self. we have multiple selfs that are aroused by different context. the presidentas more core selves than even most of us. i think he has many. >> rose: he's many people. >> many peopleroused by different context. and i think the strength is he always has the ability to look at his other selves. a then are all auentic. i'm not saying he's fake, and sort of judge. >> rose: which one is appropriate for this moment. >> or just did that one screw up. that st of thing but do think and again this is just armchair psychology. that it makes it harder for him to totally commit, just than somebody who might have less self-observation. >> rose: ronald reagan or george. >> or george w, yeah, total commit, that's it i'm all in. i think it harder for him to do that. >> rose: because he is aware
of all -- >> he is sing the different angles, eing th diffent selves. but when he told me about the marshmallow experiment which about the ability to control impulses before age 4, we were talking about education and he was talking about testing. and i was asking him, you know, the really important uff happens ver early in life. and you are spending souch time reforming the k through 12 education. frankly, a lot of the stuff 0 throug3 is getting a little short schrift because the big guns politically are with k through 12 or with seniors. and he said yes, i understand that. but we're going to try to work on that. so you know one stupid political thing is we should be spending our time in government trying to take the people who are living in disorganized neighborhoods and giving them structures every second of every day whether it is a nurse family partnership, a visit to mom, coached to become a better parent or early childhood education, social emotional education, boys & girls clubs, there should ju be
plenty of institutions. we should be focusing on way more than we are. then the other this even in the realm of counterterrorism policy, we've learned the importance ofstablishing what they call coin, establishing levels o trust, so pele will trust you and you can beat back insurgencies. in egypt, we just saw an emotional contagion. we just saw something people's totally changed. >> you have said and i have said -- >> that swept through the region. >> how this connects to my own -- >> so the research was very con is on the-- con sonat anti-o or in the financial panic with. had a financial regime based on the notion that remember's rational self-interested people that won'do anything stupid en masse. but if you understand the power of us to affect each other's sense risk then you becomeware of how a financial bubble could really come about. >> rose: define yourself as an emotional person.
>> dow want my wife's definition. >> rose: we'll take hers, yes. >> it's similar to the table. >> rose: so why is that, and what -- >> you know,. >> rose: why? >> i'm not the only man in the wod who has trouble expressing emotion. i'm not, hopefully i'm not too stone like but i will say the pro des-- process-- . >> rose: what is the problem with expressing owe motion. >> this is why who you are are. you are good at this but i would say you know, the book has really spent, i spent years on this and just on the field. it's really made me see it. i am aware of things are still hard for me to express. like the things that have been wired in me since for whatever reason, temperment or whatever reason t is still hard for me to express what i'm feeling. i think i see it but it's hard fore to come in and out. anif it comes out it comes out through writing. and i don't think i'm the only guy on earth with this particular problem. >> rose: is it some definition of what is is to being tough or not or any of that? >> or just how guys should
be. having to do-- . >> rose: how guys should be. >> i think it's a gentler-- at least in our culture it is genderling t is about the level of communication, one of my favorite experiments done if germany, they had a bunch of people wear gloss pads under their arms, watch a horror movie and then a comedy and got other research subjects who i hope they were paid a lot, sniff the gauze pads. so everyone can sort of sniff the fear or the laughter. people way above average chance can predict who went to what movie. t women are much better at this then men. just more perceptive. i don't know whether that is genes or culture. i don't want to ansr th question. >> i think the power to express yourself and to have an emotional intelligence serves you well. >> right, very much so. it helps you learn. it'sverything. >> yeah. >> so we shouldn't separate squishy emotion from hard. it's all the same. theris a phrase, we should educate our emotis. and how do you do that.
dow it a lot through art and literature. when you move with the literary character, you are experiencing their emotion and if it's powerful, it's adding to your internal repertoire. a piece of ms lick add to your internalepertoire. one of the reasons that i cherish springstein is that sort of a manly jersey guy not like medemographically but hehowed how sort of a working class gucould be emotional in a very honorable way. and i think that's a great model. and there are many other models like art and music and other things offer us. >> the book is called the social animal, david brooks .