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160 pages, Hardcover
First published October 17, 2017
“To think independently of other human beings is impossible, and if it were possible it would be undesirable. Thinking is necessarily, thoroughly, and wonderfully social. Everything you think is a response to what someone else has thought and said. And when people commend someone for ‘thinking for herself’ they usually mean ‘ceasing to sound like people I dislike and starting to sound more like people I approve of.’”
“People invested in not knowing, not thinking about, certain things in order to have ‘the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved’ will be ecstatic when their instinct for consensus is gratified—and wrathful when it is thwarted. (Social bonding is cemented by shared emotion, shared emotion generates social bonding. It’s a feedback loop from which reflection is excluded.) … Anyone who claims not to be shaped by such forces is almost certainly self-deceived. Human beings are not built to be indifferent to the waves and pulses of their social world. For most of us the question is whether we have even the slightest reluctance to drift along with the flow. The person who genuinely wants to think will have to develop strategies for recognizing the subtlest of social pressures, confronting the pull of the ingroup and disgust for the outgroup. The person who wants to think will have to practice patience and master fear.”