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Deep Questions

The following are some of the deep questions about the mind and how it works. These are questions that have come from subscribers to the Brainpower Newsletter. Since the mind is a tougher subject of study than the brain, at least from a scientific perspective, my answers are likely to be my own opinion more than a recitation of research results.

Deep Questions

Q: You've said that we all tend to defend our own ideas automatically and that this limits our thinking ability. What should we do to prevent this and to make ourselves interested in other's ideas?

A: There are many things we can do. You can take another person's viewpoint and explain it in your own words, for example. That gets you more interested and you'll understand it better (that doesn't mean that their ideas or opinions will be good ones, but how do we know without understanding them better?)

Q: You have mentioned that we are not what we think we are. Can you explain?

A: We create an idea of who we are with our minds, or perhaps it makes more sense to say that the mind creates this for us. We identify with that created "self," confusing it for who we are, or at least making the mistake of treating it as though it is all that we are. This created self is sometimes referred to as our ego, although there are other labels used for it as well (false self, lower self, reactive self, etc).

One result of this error, is that we think and do things which are clearly bad for the whole body/brain/mind we inhabit, but which help reinforce and strengthen the created self that suggested the thoughts and actions. We defend beliefs that may be mistaken, for example, under the spell of an ego that tells us it is more important to win an argument or be right than to learn something new or correct a misunderstanding. Such pattern of thought and feeling make us more committed to a given idea, which ultimately reinforces the part of the mind that it comes from - the ego. A process that defends ideas - even from the truth - rather than exploring what is true, can clearly be bad for us.

Most people who honestly work to understand this have an experience at some point where they observe the process of identification going on and are able to drop it, along with the problems it causes - at least at that moment. I'll probably write something more on the subject and have it in the newsletter. It is also addressed in my book Beyond Mental Slavery.

Q: I recently read your article about how to forget. I was just wondering whether you believe that memory loss can be consciously achieved? Do humans have the psychological ability to completely 'forgive and forget'?

A: I don't know if we can consciously forget things. As I recall I wrote about how to redirect one's attention so that memories don't interfere with the task at hand. Trying to directly eliminate memories seems futile and possibly harmful.

As for forgiving and forgetting, again I'm not sure that truly forgetting is necessary nor desirable. Forgiveness, on the other hand is always possible and a good idea. Choosing not to be ruled by our memories is possible as well.

Q: After reading your sales page for The Secrets Package, I was wondering, do you think that it's fair to use subliminal techniques on people?

A: I have mixed feelings about that, and I don't consciously use the techniques when dealing with people. To be honest, if I put the books together today I might leave that part out. Ethics is important, and I'm not sure that there are ethical ways to use some of the techniques.

On the other hand, there are some interesting questions here. For example, is it okay to influence a person in ways that are not obvious to them if it's for their own good? Do we have a right to decide what's good for them? Can we trust our own justifications for using these techniques?

In any case, the main reason I leave the information in the books is that the darker side of persuasion certainly can be used on us, so its good to be aware of it.

Note: If you are a subscriber to The Mind Power Report (see the side bar or homepage) you can hit reply to any mailing in order to ask about the mind, intelligence testing, or any other questions you might have. I try to answer them all personally, but be aware that I may also use your question along with my answer on a page like this.

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(Sorry, but the newsletter has been discontinued.)


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Are You a Mind Slave?

Beyond Mental Slavery examines the ways we become trapped in mental processes that limit the clarity and effectiveness of our thinking and decision-making. The basic problems - and solutions - are spelled out in simple language. Stories and research are used to show how the mind works - or doesn't work. This book is a how-to guide for clearer, more powerful, and more useful thinking.

Click here to order your copy today!


For a good video on deep questions, see this...

Pondering the Big Questions

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