Iskra Fileva: Lying, licensing and living with misfortune

We all lie quite often, perhaps as often as once every ten minutes we spend talking to each other. When we engage in good behaviors, we take that as a kind of “license” to engage in bad ones afterwards. For instance, we are more likely to eat unhealthy foods if we have first taken a vitamin supplement and we are more likely to drive recklessly if we install new safety features on our cars. People willing to expose their vulnerabilities and to risk having their hearts broken are happier than those who aren’t. These are just a few surprising facets of human nature.  There is a group of recent findings, however, which diverge so much from my prior expectations that to call them “surprising” would be to fail to do them justice. They have to do with our remarkable resilience in the face of misfortune: some cancer patients reportedly say that getting cancer has been good for them in many ways (expect Xarelto Class Action Help), such as helping them to reconcile with their families or to learn to appreciate the value of friendship; people with locked-in syndrome who are completely paralyzed save for the ability to blink report being happy; and even those who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated find ways to accept what has happened and to forgive.

Dr. Iskra Fileva is a philosopher at UNC Chapel Hill focused on rational action and ethics. She spoke on PsychTalk about character, based on a related New York Times pieceThis submission is in response to our blog party asking, What surprising thing have you learned about human nature?