David Brooks on the Composure Class : The New Yorker

January 15, 2011

DAVID BROOKS: I wouldn’t say philosophy and theology are dead. Brain science doesn’t invent new philosophies but it helps remind us which of our existing philosophies are more true. I’d say this body of research reminds us that David Hume, Adam Smith and others who emphasized that we are social, sentimental creatures were right and Descartes and others who believed that we are rational creatures were wrong. We assign value to things through emotions. They are not the enemy of reason but its foundation.

He has a new book The social animal, and he has read quite well in the new lit. This tongue in cheek humorous peculiar essay gets at th essence by telling the story of a college age boy and girl who meet, marry and meditate. using this narrative to tell the tale puts to shame the standard academic writing which grounds down human interest in methodology and style sheets utter inappropriate for the humanism of the content.

Brooks also, when he is like this, as in his first book Bobos in Paradise. These books are intelligent in ways that go beyond his sometimes irrational and illogical columns.

The commonality might be that he fails in the books to address the more painful issues of the banks, the corporations, the ecology we live in.

But I think he will come around.

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