CNN After former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean, his brother embraced her and said he forgives her. Brandt Jean went over to Guyger and the two hugged. Jean told her he doesn’t want her to go to prison. “I love you as a person and I don’t want to wish anything bad on you,” Jean said before they hugged for nearly 30 seconds. Jurors on Tuesday had found Guyger, 31, guilty of murder for fatally shooting Jean in his Dallas apartment in 2018. She had faced between five years and 99 years for the shooting.
“Human beings are by definition vulnerable to those determined to mislead them”
As a journalist, it’s part of my job to have honest conversations with people I frequently don’t know in order to help myself and others better understand the world. So I was really interested in Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Talking to Strangers, which uses a series of case studies to show how we so often misread strangers and the real problems that that can cause. Read our conversation about what we so often get wrong when we meet someone new — and why we have a hard time telling when we’re being misled…
Katie Couric: It’s been six years since your last book, congrats! I know you commit an enormous amount of time to researching and studying the topics you write about. How do you know when you’ve finally found the one that you want to devote an entire book to?
Malcolm Gladwell: Well, I’m mildly obsessive. And I tend to be obsessing about one thing or another at all times. (Like, at the moment, I’ve spent the entire day mulling over why Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open final). But sometimes I find myself obsessing over the same thing for weeks on end. That’s usually a sign that a topic is rich enough to be worth doing a podcast episode–or writing a book about.
The book opens with the heartbreaking case of Sandra Bland. Why do you say that it’s “the perfect example” of what you wanted to explore? Why do you think it affected you so deeply?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s unlike most of the other highly publicized cases of encounters between young African Americans and law enforcement, the officer’s dash-cam captured the whole episode. We know every word that was spoken between Bland and the police officer, Brian Encinia. There is no “he said, she said” in this case. And that meant there is no way to re-interpret or explain away the awfulness and tragedy of their meeting. That tape became one of my obsessions. And after watching it half a dozen times, I thought—I should write a book about this.
A major idea in the book is our tendency to “default to truth” when we meet strangers. Can you tell us what this means exactly and how it can end up causing some real problems?
One of the big questions that psychologists have been wrestling with for decades is why human beings are so bad at detecting lies. We’re terrible at it. And the psychologist Tim Levine argues that that’s because as humans we “default to truth.” That is: we automatically assume that anyone we speak to is telling the truth, and it takes a mountain of evidence of doubt for us to change our minds. Levine makes the case that this is part of what is special and beautiful about us: default to truth is what allows us to form groups, cooperate, start businesses, communicate with others, and put our children on the school bus every morning without interrogating the bus driver about his qualifications and motives. But it also means that when someone really wants to deceive us, we’re really easily duped. He says—and I agree—that that is a small price to pay for the many advantages of implicit truth in others. But it does mean being human necessarily leaves us open to deception.
Talking to Strangers is a series of case studies of cases in the news that I think make this point explicitly. Why did Bernie Madoff fool so many people for so long? How did the pedophile Larry Nasser get away with abusing so many girls in his care for so long? That’s not because people in positions of authority were negligent. It’s because human beings are by definition vulnerable to those determined to mislead them.
We’re both journalists, so our jobs require that we spend a lot of time talking to strangers and, hopefully, getting them to open up to us truthfully. How do you think your work on the book has affected the way you engage with your subjects?
One of the things that I spend a lot of time on in Talking to Strangers is how we rush to judgement about strangers–we rely on very flawed clues, like facial expressions or body language. And we systematically underestimate the importance of context in making sense of another’s behavior. This has made me way, way more cautious as a journalist. I think the only way for a journalist to honestly profile someone, for example, is if writers limit themselves to painting very specific narrow pictures of their subjects. You can spend a few hours with Brad Pitt and talk about the way he is with you–and you can watch his movies and talk about the way he is on the screen–but you can’t begin to know him. Sadly I think too few of us exercise that kind of caution.
With everything you’ve learned, what’s your best advice for all of us to have better and more honest interactions with strangers?
Be humble. Be cautious. Don’t imagine that you can get to the heart of someone else from a single encounter. Human beings are much more complex than that.
Katie Couric and friends talk career, culture, politics, wellness, love, and money
Journalist, podcaster, @SU2C founder, doc filmmaker of @FedUpmovie on @netflix, #GenderRevolution on @iTunes and #AmericaInsideOut on @natgeochannel & @hulu
Katie Couric and friends talk career, culture, politics, wellness, love, and money
A Brief Introduction to Carl Jung and Jungian Psychology.
Inevery public arena we present an exaggerated version of ourselves which we hope will make an impression. The character we display in our occupation is not the same as at home. When alone we have no one to impress, but in public we wear a mask, a persona, so that we might impose a desirable image of ourselves onto others. Every profession has subtle agreements about the manners which are acceptable, and those which are not; and it is expected that the individual will adapt to these requirements without anyone having to openly explain them. A doctor, for instance, is expected to behave as a doctor should, with a patience and sympathy that would be difficult for an ordinary person to achieve; any propensity for impatience or hostility would not be acceptable, and for good reason.
It is then the distinct purpose of the persona to subdue all of the primitive urges, impulses, and emotions that are not considered socially acceptable, and that, if we were to act upon them, would make us look fools. Anyone with any sense at all sees through the façade; but we each participate in pretending that all this is real, so that society might carry on as normal. The difficulty with the persona arises only when one becomes so closely identified with his role that he loses all sense of self. At this point the damage is surely done: he will be entirely unaware of any distinction between himself and the world in which he lives. The result of an inflated persona, Jung warned, is a ‘shallow, brittle, conformist kind of personality which is ‘all persona’, with its excessive concern for ‘what people think.’ Such a person will sacrifice himself for the wishes of others without limit — not because he is a saint, but because he does not have the courage to refuse and endure conflict.
Ifnothing else, the persona is obedience to expectations; it is the mask one wears to convince himself, and others, that he is not an altogether bad person. But one cannot go beyond the persona until he has incorporated into his character those darker character traits which belong to what Jung called the ‘shadow self’. The shadow is everything that we have denied in ourselves and cast into oblivion, or rather everything that the ego has refused to associate with itself, but that we can notice in other people — such things might include our sexuality, spontaneity, aggression, instincts, cowardice, carelessness, passion, enthusiasm, love of material possessions. It embraces all those sins, dark thoughts, and moods for which we felt guilt and shame.
The shadow is necessarily emotional in nature, for it must oppose the rigidness of the ego; it holds its own autonomy, separate from the conscious mind. Therefore, in being instinctive and irrational, the shadow is prone to psychological projection, whereby we attribute to others all our evil and inferior qualities that we do not want to admit are in ourselves. ‘A man who is unconscious of himself’, Jung writes, ‘acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.’ (The Philosophical Tree, page 335.) When we perceive a moral deficiency in others we can be sure there is a similar inferiority within ourselves. ‘If you feel’, Von Franz writes, ‘an overwhelming rage coming up in you when a friend reproaches you about a fault, you can be fairly sure that at this point you will find a part of your shadow, of which you are unconscious.’ If we observe our resentment towards ourselves and others, and if we consider the moral aspects of our behaviour, then we have the opportunity to bring the shadow into consciousness, and achieve a renewed sense of strength and independence.
Jung believed that nested inside the shadow are the qualities of our opposite gender. The anima is the archetype that expresses the fact that men have a minority of feminine qualities; and the animus expresses the masculine qualities within women. In every man there is a woman, and in every woman a man; or rather, there is the image of the ideal man/woman, which is, as a rule, formed in part by the experience of our mother/father, and by the influence of culture and heritage. One might argue that the ideas of feminine and masculine are based on arbitrary stereotypes. But Jung presented the concept of the anima and animus as the ancient archetypes of Eros and Logos. Eros (the female) is associated with receptivity, creativity, relationships, and wholeness.. Logos (the male) is identified with power, thought, and action. (In Ancient Greek Eros means ‘love’, or ‘life energy’; whereas Logos is the term for a principle of order and knowledge.)
The anima then is a personification of all feminine tendencies, positive or negative, in a man’s psyche. A positive expression of the anima might include sensitivity and empathy, capacity for loving relationships, a feeling for nature. But if the anima is rejected — that is, if a man represses those characteristics which might be considered classically feminine — the anima becomes deformed: feelings and emotions are replaced by moodiness, sentimentality, hysteria; fidelity becomes possessiveness; aesthetics become sensuality; tenderness becomes effeminacy; imagination becomes mere fantasizing. The animus, on the other hand, is a personification of masculine tendencies in a woman’s psyche, such as strength of conviction, assertiveness, courage, strength, vitality, and a desire for achievement. But if the woman disregards her masculine edge then she will become possessed by the animus: assertiveness will become aggression and ruthlessness; and analytical thought will become argumentativeness.
As with the shadow, the archetypes of the anima/animus have their own autonomy, and are independent from our conscious mind. Thus the anima/animus can be projected in the world so that they appear to be some qualities of a particular man/woman. In the presence of the anima, or at least a good imitation of anima, a man feels a peculiar familiarity with her, as if he has known this woman for all time; in some cases, the energy between the two is intoxicating, to the degree that one might say he has fallen in ‘love at first sight’. In truth, he has fallen in love with a deception, with the image that he has projected onto another woman. It is only when the mirage of the projection disperses will he realise himself as a fool. Once the projection is withdrawn the anima can be recognised as a force within oneself. After having integrated the anima, men seemingly reconnect with a divine power in the inner world — which might express itself as a creative ability, or a sensitivity for the natural world— which must have always been within them; but which had to shown to them by the presence of the feminine, by the guiding hand of a woman.
After one has overcome the persona, and integrated his shadow and the aspects of the anima/animus archetype into one’s character, one then is given access, Jung believed, to enter into the deepest and highest reaches of the psyche, the archetype of wholeness– which Jung named the ‘Self’, the most significant of all the archetypes. ‘The Self embraces’, Jung writes, ‘ego-consciousness, shadow, anima, and collective unconscious in indeterminable extension.’ (Mysterium Coniunctionis, page 108.) The self then is the sum of everything we are now, and we once were, as well as everything we could potentially become; it is the symbol of the ‘God within us’, that which we are as a totality.
The archetype of the self is the origin of our impulse towards self-realisation; it is the single point from which our character and our personality matures as we grow older — just as a seed holds the whole potential future of a flower. It is the Self that brings forth what Jung called ‘the process of individuation’, which begins from the potential of childhood to an expansive journey of self-discovery, whereby one consciously and gradually integrates the unconscious aspects — the parts of ourselves that we have refused to confront — of one’s personality into the whole. Jung believed that it is the end purpose of human life to experience this coming together of the whole, to fully integrate and make conscious everything about ourselves that was hidden in the shadow. This end is the fullest expression of one’s character, and allows one to hold firm their individuality against the collective mass unconscious.
Sharing our ideas and experiences.
www.wisegeek.com A syndrome which was first described by G.G. De Clerambault in 1885 is reviewed and a case is presented. Popularly called erotomania, the syndrome is characterized by the delusional idea, usually in a young woman, that a man whom she considers to be of higher social and/or professional standing is in love with her
LAS VEGAS—Championing his new policy proposal as a way to reduce the gap between the working class and the 1%, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled a comprehensive plan Tuesday to tackle income inequality with an art heist from a billionaire’s home. “We should not be living in a country where all the wealth is concentrated in a few very rich people, which is why my new plan to remove artworks from an ultrawealthy estate in the dead of night and sell them through third parties will redistribute hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Pollocks, de Koonings, and Rothkos to the hardworking American people,” said Sanders of the detailed 85-page plan outlining his system to lift expensive paintings, sculptures, jewels, and other artworks from billionaires’ private collections in their homes in the Hamptons, Upper East Side, and Palo Alto. “Million-dollar impressionist paintings and modernist sculptures should be a public good, not kept locked up in some CEO’s mansion. Using a progressive seizure rate that takes the most art from the wealthiest individuals, my plan will go a long way toward shrinking the gap between the haves and have-nots in this country. It describes in great detail how I will put the suction cups on my hands and climb to the window, then use one of those circular cutters to remove a pane of glass from the ceiling in order to place my grappling hook to rappel down. My plan also calls for building a diverse working-class coalition of Americans to put on cable-repairman clothes, gain entry to the house, disable the alarm system to access complicated private safes in under 30 seconds, and then wait outside in a requisitioned UPS delivery truck for a quick escape. Under my proposal, we’ll be able to offload the stolen Monets, Picassos, and Warhols to pay for free college for all Americans.” At press time, the media was criticizing Sanders’ proposal by questioning how the candidate intended to pay for all the black ski masks, razor blades for cutting paintings out of their frames, and getaway vans described in his plan.
Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22
While it’s true that a lot of music contains sexual innuendo, you’re pretty much alone in thinking that Beethoven’s Fifth has an undeniable copulatory rhythm.
Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21
You’ve always believed that you’ve left your lovers happy, satisfied, and thinking fondly of you, but their plaintive oinking and squealing would seem to suggest otherwise.
Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21
You awoke this morning a young man without a care in the world, but due to cosmic events beyond your control, you’ll end the day as the oldest woman ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19
Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh at the hilarity of it all, but sometimes it’s better to actually help people out of the burning building.
Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18
Although you are firmly convinced that there are some things mankind was just not meant to know, you’re not exactly sure how you’re supposed to be able to tell what they are.
Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20
Juggling three young children isn’t easy for any mother, but then, that’s why you start with tennis balls and bowling pins first.
Aries | March 21 to April 19
Turns out it’s not your relationship with your father that’s been eating you up inside, but rather a three-foot-long parasite lodged directly below your kidney.
Taurus | April 20 to May 20
Due to the high incidence of hijinx, tomfoolery, and puns, you’ll finally decide to stop answering doors during knock-knock jokes.
Gemini | May 21 to June 20
The stars, in their infinite wisdom, indicate that the cute blonde you’ve been pointing them out to couldn’t be more bored if she tried.
Cancer | June 21 to July 22
You’ll continue to grow as a human being this week, much to the relief of all those geneticists.
Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22
Home is where the heart is. Specifically, beneath the floorboards of the common room.
Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22
Every day on Earth is like a beautiful gift from God, which is thoughtful and all, but you’d probably prefer something you can actually use.
The decent docent doesn’t doze:
He teaches standing on his toes.
His student dassn’t doze – and does,
And that’s what teaching is and was.
— David McCord
David Thompson Watson McCord (December 15, 1897 – April 13, 1997) was an American poet and college fundraiser. Wikipedia
(Contributed by Janet Cornwell, H.W., m.)
Truth never damages a cause that is just.
-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 Oct 1869-1948)