Bear with me for a moment.
Yesterday, I wrote
about playing tennis with three-time Wimbledon doubles champion George
Lott. Mr. Lott came to mind for the first time in ages while I was
watching the Wimbledon finals last weekend.
I had hoped to find a decent photo to include with my post, but I could only come up with this image from a Camel Cigarette ad.
I also found a script from a 1936 CBS radio program sponsored by Camel. (The things you find on the net!) Here's an excerpt:
Lott: It’s been my experience that a CAMEL has a very beneficial effect on digestion. Smoking a CAMEL always makes my food taste better and digest better and seems to help me enjoy what I eat and get more good out of it.
Announcer: George Lott is right about CAMELS and good digestion, and his advice should be generally followed. Enjoy the royal flavor of CAMEL’S costlier tobaccos…smoke CAMELS, for digestion’s sake as well!
So Cut To The Chase, Dr X.
I was momentarily tempted to say that times have really changed, but that isn't true. Lies, hype, spin and illusion have been part of the human condition since the beginning and they aren't going anywhere soon. A capacity for deliberate deception is a moral downside to our capacity for a theory of mind--a capacity that also makes us capable of empathic connection with minds outside our own.
Surely there was an adaptive advantage associated with the emergent capacity for deception. If I know that you have a subjective world separate from mine, it might occur to me to steal your elk burger when you aren't looking. I wonder, then, if our theory of mind developed specifically in connection with the adaptive advantage of a capacity for deception. We know, for example, that crows and jays have a rudimentary theory of mind because we watch them engage in deception while stashing their food (a link is out there).
I'm probably thinking about this much too simplistically, but what if our capacity for empathy developed only incidentally to our capacity to deceive? I leave the answers to such questions to the anthropologists, biologists and the evolutionary psychologists, but it is an interesting thought...don't you think so?