Here's this week's guest introducing himself, and sharing a bit of what happened to him over the past couple of years.
My name is Dan Ariely. I'm a social scientist… I work on behavioral change. And when COVID started, I became very popular.
I got lots of questions from lots of governments…
- Should we do fines?
- What about distant education?
- Working remotely?
- How should we compensate people?
- How do we reduce domestic violence?
- What do we do with prisoners?
There were a lot of them, and they were amazing. And I kind of felt I was at the top of my career.
I had two phones. I was trying to answer as many things as possible, and this was going on every day… I stopped everything else. I was doing nothing by answering questions from around the world about how do we create these behavioral changes that we wanted to create, and how do we not create bad ones like domestic violence?
This is happening for a few months, and then all of a sudden I get an email from somebody I once knew. And she said, “Dan, what happened to you?”
And very quickly I said, “What do you mean what happened to me?”
And she sent me a long list of links, and I'll just describe one of them. That link, it showed pictures of me in hospital when I was young.
I was badly burned. Most of my body is covered with scars, including this side of my face. That's why I don't have hair on this side.
Anyway, it shows pictures of me in hospital. True.
It says I was in hospital for three years. True.
70% of my body burned. True.
But then it said that because of that, I started hating healthy people. Not true.
And I joined Bill Gates and the Illuminati, trying to kill as many healthy people as possible. And that's what COVID is about, and that'swhat the vaccine will be about anyway.
There were many links, with not all the same story, but all portraying me as a villain.
And my first reaction was to correct them.
But then I thought better of it, and I decided to consult some friends who are experts in PR… Everybody said the same thing: “Don't talk to them. Don't touch it. Let it go.”
But even though I'm very proud that I went to get advice, I couldn't take that advice. There was something in me that cried for the injustice. Like, here I was,waking up every day trying to do good, and these people were thinking I was doing evil.
And it was impossible for me to accept that they will not be convinced if I only prove things to them…
I called some of them. One of them came to my house. I met with a few other people. I joined online groups. I joined discussion groups, Telegram.
And I failed miserably.
To find out what happened, and why it turned into a book on the personal and social psychology of conspiratorial thinking – ie believing Bullshit – well, that's what we talk about next.
Trigger Warning: The interview was conducted on October 19, 2023, less than two weeks after Hamas massacred and tortured thousands of Israelis, and captured many more. At that point, student protests at many US colleges and universities were expressing support for Hamas's actions – another example of misbelief, given that the Hamas ideology is diametrically opposed to just about every value expressed by the progressive Left. Dan shares some of the gruesome details of that attack. Use your own judgment about whether you are OK with hearing this.
Misbelief, by Dan Ariely
Looking for Transformational Change?
You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?
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You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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