Friday, 6 August 2010

human beings like to be deceived - "how to think about weird things" book review

first off, the book how to think about weird things gets a million stars from me. every human being should read this book.

i have been thinking recently about something i read there, it was a quote about how people actually like to be deceived, but there was no explanation or example given and then i realized that the biggest example is in movies (and also books). a good movie is one where you think you know who the bad guy is and then you find out you're wrong. people also like to watch magic shows, card tricks, etc. but sometimes we hate being deceived: finding out your spouse/partner is having an affair =)

update 20100813:
i was reading fooled by randomness by nassim taleb and found this which supports this idea of liking to be deceived, e.g. through literature/entertainment:

The book is the synthesis of, on one hand, the no-nonsense
mathematical trader (self-styled "practitioner of uncertainty") who
spent his life trying to resist being fooled by randomness and trick the
emotions associated with uncertainty and, on the other, the aesthetically
obsessed, literature-loving human being willing to be fooled by any form
of nonsense that is polished, refined, original, and tasteful. I am not
capable of avoiding being the fool of randomness; what l can do is
confine it to where it brings some aesthetic gratification.

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