Saturday, October 8, 2011

MICRO-RANT ALERT: Pundits and True Believers


Humans are creative geniuses who transform isolated wisps of sensory experience into vivid mental models of the world which are experienced as rock-solid objective reality. Like a homeopathic preparation, by the time the alchemical process of transmutation is complete, there's almost none of the original substance left in the solution of our belief systems. Like jazz musicians who start with a well-known standard, the music we end up performing is almost entirely the product of our creative imaginations, with just a nod to the notes on the original score.

This process is easiest to notice in pundits and true believers who pontificate about controversial issues on our social media streams. They turn their backs on the the vast multi-dimensional web of reality and instead focus on cherry-picked clumps of factoids that they connect in the shape of their pre-existing beliefs. It's an ugly process if you can see behind the veil. Obsessive beliefs fueled by conspiracy theories can twist the psyche into the grotesque unnatural poses of circus contortionists.

The good news is that there's a simple antidote to this toxic plague of self-delusion. If you're more committed to truth than your beliefs, try this simple exercise from the Work of Byron Katie. Take one of your beliefs related to a controversial issue and ask yourself:
  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know that it's true?
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without the thought?
Follow up the Turnarounds.

There are supporting materials available through the links provided above. If you give it a try, please let me know how it goes.

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