Journey to Elsewhen 01
The View from in Here 02
Outside Looking In 03
In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye 04
The Hound of Silence 05
The Future Is Now 06
Time Bombs 07
Paradise Glossed 08
Immune to Reality 09
Once Bitten 10
Reporting Live from Tomorrow 11
Immune to Reality
In the previous chapter I argued that people are quite good at changing their views of the world in order to change the way they feel about it. In Chapter 9, I argue that people are typically unaware that they have this talent. This lack of self-insight not only causes people to underestimate their future happiness, but it also causes them to do things that will undermine it, such as shopping in stores with liberal return policies, or seeking information about their secret admirers. Psychologist Daniel Gilbert (who often talks about himself in the third person) suggests that this tendency may even help explain why people believe in God. Psychologist Barry Schwartz asks whether the freedom to choose and to change one's mind might diminish, rather than enhance, happiness.
If people really are happier with choices when they can't undo them, then perhaps divorce should be illegal. How do we balance the costs of too little and too much freedom of choice?
D. T. Gilbert, "The vagaries of religious experience," Edge, September 27 (2005).
B. Schwartz, "Self-Determination: The Tyranny of Freedom," American Psychologist, 55, 79-88 (2000).
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