Hypocrites are everywhere in our daily life. They surround us inside of our familys, friend circles, and our workplaces. We are bombarded by hypocrites yet we don’t ever notice them until those people offend us or say something that goes against our morals. News flash: we are all hypocrites whether we are able to admit it to ourselves or not. Everything we do in our life contradicts some claim we have made in the past. “I’ll never use a public restroom,” you say, yet only a few days later you use a public toilet. “I’m on a diet, I cannot have dessert,” you say but as soon as you’re home you eat several cookies with a side of milk. We as humans contradict our own morals everyday, sometimes without realizing it. Why Everyone else is a Hypocrite by Robert Kurzban, brings light onto contradiction, human error, morality that is connected with the modular mind, and hypocrisy in it’s greatest form.
Robert Kurzban begins his humorous and sarcastic journey with a story of traffic in Philadelphia. He compares the traffic patterns of southern California to those of Philadelphia. While this may seem odd, the very first sentence of the book states that: “Ignorance can save your life in Philadelphia” (Kurzban 1). Kurzban concludes that the only way to stay alive when crossing traffic on foot is to “walk like a tourist” (1) and to be completely ignorant of your surroundings, including the cars around you. This perfect introduction helps the reader tie everything Kurzban throws at you together as you continue reading. Several times throughout the book, he mentions ignorance, morality, and how those two can sometimes be the flaw of your life or the thing that saves your life.
Sarcasm is littered in every corner of this book, and it gives the reader a reason to continue reading if he/she gets slightly bored with the logic and reasoning that Kurzban explains. The information got a little heavy as the middle of the book came along. Why Everyone Else is a Hypocrite is filled with punny footnotes and almost offensive examples that make even the dullest of reader laugh. This does not exclude the contradictory title itself.
Kurzban incorporates many different hot topic issues that are debated everyday across the world, one including cigarettes. “If we’re really concerned about harm, then cigarettes would have been banned a long time ago” (195); the author makes the valid point about how us as a society are not really concerned about the harm that drugs do, but because our morals say certain drugs are “just bad”, and “just wrong”. We are unable to give explanations as to why we ban drugs except for the “they’re wrong” speeches, and “my morals say no to drugs” speeches that we constantly give. A prime modern day example of this contradictory act is that a doctor says that he “knows what drugs can do”, and Kurzban attacks this and says that the doctor also knows what knives can do but he isn’t setting out on a war on cleavers. While these issues are discussed throughout the book, Kurzban does not go as far as making fun of a certain thought or idea on one thing or another, however he does call people out on their hypocrisy.
Chapter five: Truth Hurts, is a very non-humorous chapter. The sections mostly deals with consequences of actions becomes of the choice of being ignorant. In this chapter you are placed in a scenario where you are standing outside of a burning house. A small boy approaches you and points out that a cat is stuck inside the house. Kurzban gives you two choices: “you can try to save the cat, at a risk to yourself, or not try to save the cat, and endure the reputational damage of allowing the cat to die” (81). This is followed by a footnote: “You could kill the boy, but then you’ve got other problems” (81). While Robert Kurzban puts you into this scenario, he is able to keep his writing style professional, yet laid back in a sense that doesn’t make him seem stuck up about his research.
Why Everyone Else is a Hypocrite is an excellent book for those that are looking for something interesting to read with humorous additions, yet still remains professional and informative. The examples and outside references that Robert Kurzban uses are excellent and top-notch, and have his reader wanting more as they read through his book about evolution and the modular mind.
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