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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely a TV series sometime soon, 10 April 2011
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This review is from: Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind (Paperback)
This is an amazing, fantastic book . Looking directly into the heart of such a crucial yet taboo subject of honesty and dishonesty, its findings are staggering.

It's literally a book and a half: there's a related substantial subtext regarding the evidence for the ubiquity of the subconcious in thinking, perceiving, responding, creating, and problem solving. Only a small fraction of this activity shows up on the `computer monitor' of our conscious mind.

This prefaces the main item : the pervasive nature of deceitfulness. Endemic in nature's survival equipment, why should man be an exception? Among the `modules' of our subconcious mind, the `Machiavellian' one whirrs away, generating manipulative stategy. Why subconcious? Partly because, to misrepresent and trick our competitiors effectively, it's best to deceive ourselves first.

Smith gives a couple of examples of the module in action.
Firstly, 85% of our conversation is, not explicit transaction, but gossip. Recounting stories about others, subtly aggrandising ourselves, while we form strategic subconcious bonds and alliances with our audience.
Secondly, he suggests, beware moral proclamations. What better way of manipulating the rest of the group than by hypocrisy - proclaiming allegiance to the group morality while - even self-deceptively - following our own selfish motives outside the professed rules.

He makes two pleas.
Firstly, as individuals, how can we follow the aphorism to 'know thyself'? Smith urges that we seek the opinions of others, who can detect what we hide from ourselves.
Secondly, as a species, let us beware most our self-deluding illusions, capable of committing us to join warring in-group / out-group contests of global proportions. Can we search into our souls for the truth in time to prevent Armageddon?
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