The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life

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Hardcover, W W Norton & Co Inc, 2011, ISBN13 9780393072990, ISBN10 0393072991

About this item

Why is belief so hard to shake? Despite our best attempts to embracerational thought and reject superstition, we often find ourselvesappealing to unseen forces that guide our destiny, wondering who mightbe watching us as we go about our lives, and imagining what might comeafter death.

In this lively and masterfully argued new book, Jesse Bering unveils thepsychological underpinnings of why we believe. Combining lucid accountsof surprising new studies with insights into literature, philosophy, andeven pop culture, Bering gives us a narrative that is as entertaining asit is thought-provoking. He sheds light on such topics as our search fora predestined life purpose, our desire to read divine messages intonatural disasters and other random occurrences, our visions of theafterlife, and our curiosity about how moral and immoral behavior arerewarded or punished in this life.

Bering traces all of these beliefs and desires to a single trait ofhuman psychology, known as the "theory of mind", which enables us toguess at the intentions and thoughts of others. He then takes thisgroundbreaking argument one step further, revealing how the instinct tobelieve in God and other unknowable forces gave early humans anevolutionary advantage. But now that these psychological illusions haveoutlasted their evolutionary purpose, Bering draws our attention to awhole new challenge: escaping them.

Thanks to Bering's insight and wit, The Belief Instinct will rewardreaders with an enlightened understanding of the universal humantendency to believe-and the tools to break free.

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Publisher: Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W.
Publish Date: Feb 07, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780393072990
ISBN-10: 0393072991
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 252
Written in: ENG
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.0
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 1.0 x 0.7 x 0.1

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