The three main learnings that David Brooks proposes are:
1. Conscious mind writes the autobiography, the unconscious mind does most of the work. While the mind in each moment is taking on millions of pieces of information a minute, the conscious mind is capable of about 40. The unconscious mind, actually quite smart.
2. Emotions are at the center of our thinking. Emotions are the foundations reason, telling us what to value. Reading and educating emotions is one of the central pieces of wisdom. A brain is the record of the feelings of a life.
3. Not primarily self contained individuals, we are social animals, not rational animals, we emerge out of relationships. We are deeply interconnected. Mirror neurons are one fascinating subject of today’s neuroscience advances.
Human behavior and happiness is a field of study which has existed throughout the span of human life on earth, with philosophers, rulers and governors and Spiritual Messengers all creating systems of belief that might lead humans toward a happier state of being.
The shift we are experiencing relates to the systems we have come to believe in and the direction we are taking. In this culture science has always created understanding for us that we have trusted, and as science is becoming more sophisticated, the mainstream understanding of human behavior which affects policies, is shifting.
Political and Cultural commentator David Brooks, reflects on our current views, saying that we have “taken on a view of human nature that we are divided selves” and that “reason is separated from the emotions”. This view that we are rational individuals who respond in straight forward ways to incentives, has become popularized but many times delegitimized by science. Brooks points out that our policies are continually produced based on this understanding, and therefore continue to fail.