Award-winning journalist, poet and technical writer Kevin Meredith assembles a wide variety of data – from ancient scripture to the latest discoveries in the brain sciences – to assert that the biggest enemy of your happiness is your own brain, working against you in accordance with ancient, hidden rules. Greater joy is possible, but understanding the forces working against you is essential. More
Award-winning journalist, poet and technical writer Kevin Meredith assembles a wide variety of data – from ancient scripture to the latest discoveries in the brain sciences – to assert a profoundly difficult but uniquely essential idea: the biggest enemy of your happiness is your own brain, working against you in accordance with ancient, hidden rules.
7 Secrets of Happiness Your Brain Doesn’t Want You to Know rips the cover off your brain, in all its beauty and brokenness, to expose the cruel, brilliant, evolved being who lives within. In seven chapters, this relatively brief book:
1. Reveals the nature and some of the most amazing, surprising and sinister capabilities of the non-conscious area of your brain, and gives it a gender (male) and a name by which it will go in this book: ultraconscious.
2. Explores your ultraconscious’ lack of concern for your happiness, except where it furthers his evolution-driven agenda for survival and reproduction. In order to keep you emotionally balanced, it is proposed, he manufactures pleasures and pains for you that have nothing to do with what’s actually happening in your life. The chapter includes illustrative stories of successful, haunted lives, frequently offered in the bewildered sufferers’ own words.
3. Presents the three categories of lies your ultraconscious tells you, physical, logical and emotional, to maintain near-absolute but mostly invisible control over your life and your happiness.
4. Discusses that special class of lies that takes the form of superstition and, in its more organized form, religion. Possible reasons superstition would have evolved in the human mind are presented, including its ability to impart life-saving confidence and direct humans toward reproduction and selfishness, as well as to ensure other essential behaviors we can’t logically justify. Includes a list of the ways superstition can interfere with your happiness.
5. Proposes that the cognitive limitations of the human brain (stupidity, to be blunt) are evolved features put there to restrict your conscious ability to interfere with your ultraconscious. Examples of the many ways society discourages intelligence are presented, including through popular literature, religious beliefs and an odd experience from the author's life involving an art college.
6. Describes some of the vulnerabilities your ultraconscious cannot protect you from, and the ways that these weaknesses are exploited by other people to get you to give them money and do things for them that are not in your best interest.
7. Asserts that, despite all the obstacles to happiness built into your brain, you can fight back and be more joyous.
The new, third edition of 7 Secrets (published in November 2012) includes various edits and, as introduced with the second edition, a test for measuring the areas in your life where your ultraconscious might be interfering the most severely with your happiness. Advice on how to counter his negative influence is presented throughout, and the book concludes with “7 Commandments for Happiness Your Brain Doesn't Want You to Know.”