#414. What We Can Learn About Happiness from Babies | Alison Gopnik
Dr. Alison Gopnik is a psychologist at UC Berkeley and one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive development. She is also the author of several books, including The Philosophical Baby and The Gardener and the Carpenter. This episode with Dr. Gopnik, explores two big and fascinating themes.
The first is enlightened self-interest. We all want to be happy. Every sentient being has that in common. One of the most successful, although counterintuitive, strategies for getting happier is to get out of your own head and help other people. Alison argues that caring is a skill that we can all develop, and there are ways to scale it so that we can improve our entire society.
The second, and related theme, explores what we can all learn about happiness from babies. In this episode Alison discuses: the “learning trap” common to adults that four-year-olds can help us avoid; the potential role of meditation in helping us see the world and solve problems more like children; the difference between our spotlight attention and children’s lantern consciousness; the strategy of solving problems by not trying to solve problems; and her critique of our modern conception of parenting, and what she thinks should replace it.
Where to find Alison Gopnik online:
Books & Media Mentioned:
- The Philosophical Baby
- The Gardener and the Carpenter
- Alison Gopnik WSJ Columns
- Alison Gopnik Papers
- What Children Lose When Their Brains Develop Too Fast - Wall Street Journal
- Alison Gopnik: What do babies think? Ted Talk
- Alison Gopnik changed how I think about love - Ezra Klein, Vox
Other Resources Mentioned:
- Ezra Klein
- #248: How to Be a Good and Sane Citizen in Ugly Times | Ezra Klein – Ten Percent Happier
- Sarah B. Hrdy, Anthropologist
- The Neurobiological Causes and Effects of Alloparenting.
- Thomas Hobbes
- Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab
- Dacher Keltner
- #374. The Evolutionary Case for Kindness | Dacher Keltner — Ten Percent Happier
- Awe Definition | What Is Awe | Greater Good
- Joseph Goldstein
- Celeste Kidd
- Michael Pollan
- #380. Psychedelics and Meditation | Michael Pollan — Ten Percent Happier