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The remainder of the Introduction provides a concise preview of those ten chapters as follows. The first chapter describes how each person has two parts: the primitive part which includes our basic instincts and the highly evolved part which tries to control the instincts.
This effort to control our instincts is shown in Chapter Two to tend to cause us too much worry, but various techniques, such as meditation, might be employed to detach the worrier from his worries. The Third Chapter goes to the relationship of the individual to other individuals by beginning with the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That leads in the Fourth Chapter to a description of the tendency that people have of seeing faults in others more readily than in themselves, which by simply realizing we might go to some length to rectify and thus come closer to living by the Golden Rule. By the Fifth Chapter, at the half-way point of the book, Haidt introduces the notion of the Happiness Hypothesis.
The Happiness Hypothesis could be that happiness comes from within, as Buddha said, or could be that happiness comes from outside. Haidt argues in Chapter Six that the truth might lie between the two extremes and contends that love depends on more than the self and is crucial to happiness.
The Seventh Chapter asks whether adversity is essential to happiness and provides a nuanced answer which is that it depends on your stage in life. Achieving happiness is a complex process which includes acting virtuously, and Haidt claims in Chapter Eight that behaving virtuously means to do as Aristotle said and to develop your strengths and realize your native potential.
Chapter Nine extends the idea that a person's happiness benefits from living virtuously by noting that some feeling of divinity helps where divinity comes through a life-long practice of moral actions.
Chapter Ten takes this idea of a life-long practice yet further and contends that a happy life is one where you get the relationships right between yourself and others, yourself and your work, and between your work and something larger than yourself—you feel a sense of purpose. His metaphor is a rider on the back of an elephant in which the conscious mind is the rider and the unconscious mind is the elephant. The rider is unable to control the elephant by force: this explains many puzzles about our mental life, particularly why we have such trouble with weakness of will.
Learning how to train the elephant is the secret of self-improvement.
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An award-winning psychologist examines the world's philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science. Place a Hold You must be logged in first.
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