"The difference between proximate and ultimate goals is another kind of proof that we are not blank slates. Whenever people strive for obvious rewards like health and happiness, which makes sense both proximately and ultimately, one could plausibly suppose that the mind is equipped only with a desire to be happy and heathy and a cause-and-effect calculus that helps them get what they want. But people often have desires that subvert their proximate well-being, desires they cannot articulate and that they (and their society) may try unsuccessfully to extirpate. They may covet their neighbor’s spouse, eat themselves into an early grave, explode over minor slights, fail to love their stepchildren, rev up their bodies in response to a stressor that they cannot fight or flee, exhaust themselves keeping up with the joneses or climbing the corporate ladder, and prefer a sexy and dangerous partner to a plain but dependable one. These personally puzzling drives have a transparent evolutionary rationale, and they suggest that the mind is packed with cravings shaped by natural selection, not with a generic desire for personal well-being."
Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (via whyallcaps)
"Despite man’s irrational desire for unity, for absolutes, for a definite order and meaning to the objective universe, no such meaning exists. It is this juxtaposition of the irrational, longing human heart and the indifferent universe that brings about the notion of the absurd."
Albert Camus (via whyallcaps)