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.
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.