Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

"Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment" and the Constant Deceptions of Our World 11th Grade

There exists an entirely different dimension, where illusion and deception form people’s personalities and rule their lives, and that dimension is exists here, everyday of our own entire lives. We all live lives only according to what is in our own heads. Whether it be optimism bias, groupthink, or the fundamental attribution error, we all use basic psychological techniques to place ourselves on a pedestal, and blame everything than ourselves for our misfortunes, while attributing any success to our doing. In this way, we are able to make life bearable and avoid self-deprecating beliefs. We do all this without even realizing it. However, this form of thinking can be a slippery slope if we are not extremely careful. How easily people's self-aggrandizing beliefs can be brought to the surface and lead to ruin is perfectly revealed the short story “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Dr. Heidegger’s induced deception makes everyone (except Heidegger himself of course) passionately believe they are something or someone they are not. Through Heidegger’s use of a placebo, the manifestation of each patient's idea of their perfect, past self from the days of their youth is created, and each is fooled. This deception...

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