We're Never More Persuasive Than On Our First Day on Earth.

You try and stare a baby out on the metro and you’re on a loser pal. 

We are never more persuasive than on our very first day on earth.  If you think about it on our very first day on earth, as newborn babies, we had to convince those around us, without intention, without consciousness, without any of the techniques of modern linguistic sophistry currently at our disposal, to take care of us, to see us on our way, to subjugate their own interests at the expense of ours.  And you know what?  We did it, didn’t we?  Because otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here this afternoon talking about it.


And how did we do it?  Well, it certainly wasn’t through any of our own efforts, that’s for sure.  If it had been through our own effort we almost would have definitely blown it.  No, instead, natural selection took care of it for us by equipping us with two features fitted as standard, fiendishly calibrated to cut through that ozone layer of vested interests and second-guessing, and to pound breathily up the steps of consciousness to kind of hammer resolutely on the secret in the emotional chambers of our hearts - a bit of Coldplay for you there.

And those two features were a virtually un-ignorable soundtrack that figures at the top of pretty much everyone’s list of aversive acoustic stimuli, and appallingly cute good looks, which appear damn near irresistible to anyone who comes into contact with them.  You try and stare a baby out on the metro and you’re on a loser pal.  Okay?  So we are never more persuasive than on our very first day on the planet. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less