The psychology of magic: Where do we look for meaning in life? | Derren Brown - Deepstash

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The psychology of magic: Where do we look for meaning in life? | Derren Brown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ManRWWChmAE

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The psychology of magic: Where do we look for meaning in life? | Derren Brown

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A very rational approach to life

Today's world has comfortably dispensed with most myth and superstition for the last few hundred years.

That's the Enlightenment legacy: we have approached a very rational approach to life. This has brought us many great things, but it has also left us with a sort of meaning gap.

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The need for meaning

Our need for meaning around the concept of death is still very present.

So it's no wonder that psychics and spiritual mediums have come in with a their version of meaning: even if they don't really offer useful, they give this impression anyway.

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Why we resort to magic

Psychics and mediums have become very popular because we are desperate for some sort of narrative that gives us a sense of something bigger.

We know they sometimes are theatrical, but they tap into our need for that feeling of wonder, of transcendence.

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Finding meaning in life

You only find meaning in life by finding a thing that's bigger than you and immersing yourself in that thing.

And meaning is more important than happiness.

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First Principles

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First Principles: Not A New Idea

Thinking from first principles is not a new idea. It's actually the single most consistent factor among great thinkers.

For example, Aristotle believed that you could not possess true knowledge without first understanding the first principles. He thought that everything could be divided into categories and sub-categories (the smallest of them being the equivalent for first principles).

Reason And Experience

An empiricist is a person that believed all true knowledge is based and obtained through experience.

The process of seeking knowledge through experience and making use of reason to give it structure it how we can find the first principles of a subject.

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Specialization is for Insects

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Read for Understanding

Books read is a vanity metric, a signal for intellect, but a weak one. 

You should read books for understanding. If a book looses your interest, drop it. 

Fame is a Liability

Social media made us into individual celebrities. But being famous is a bad objective. You want to be rich and anonymous, not poor and famous.

Fame has a price, and it's not worth it.

Read your way to success

Read your way to success

85 % of millionaires read at least two books per months.

So, as cliche as it sounds, people who read, succeed.

Psychological tricks to start reading

  • Implementation intention: this basically means setting an appointment to read.
  • Chunking: It means to break down a big task (your book) into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Temptation bundling: it happens when we associate a tasks we dislike with something we enjoy.

Implementation intention for reading

The biggest problem with reading is the starting point, actually starting to read - we buy tons on books for "later" and we never read them.

By physically scheduling a time and place for starting to read, you're setting an appoint to do so. And we tend to respect our appointments.