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Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism by Margaret M. Polski

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3Mind Matter

Man (Shocked and annoyed): “LOOK, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT!”

Abuser (Surprised): “OH. Oh, I’m sorry. This is abuse.”

Man: “Oh, I see. Well, that explains it.”

Abuser: “Ah no, you want room 12A next door.”

Man: “Sorry.”

Abuser: “Not at all. No, that’s alright.”

(Under his breath) “Stupid git!”

—Monty Python Ltd., excerpted from “The Argument” sketch

Monty Python’s “The Argument” sketch is a wonderfully hilarious spoof of the human struggle to make sense of and order our experience in the world. As you may recall, the man in this sketch has come to an unfamiliar and thoroughly nondescript office in search of an opportunity to have a good argument. After considering the options, he purchases a single five-minute argument—wisely, ...

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