Your deceptive mind
Just in case – I am not referring to any known person’s mind! This post is inspired by the book Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills – Course Guidebook by Dr Steven Novella.
The full text of the Guidebook is available at Scribd. The book gives a substantial amount of material from the video lecture series available here. Audio-only version of the lectures (12 hours) is at Audible. This is not going to be a review. There are several of those for the lecture series and book out there on the net. I only give my thoughts on the book, and related matters. Before I move on, as usual I do no know Dr Novella personally. I hold no pecuniary interests in any of this. I don’t think he is a great guy. How? I had online interactions with him before and found that he was confused and divorced from logical thought on a particular issue. [No details here]
But it doesn’t mean that because I had one unsatisfactory experience with the author, that his book is rubbish. People are not perfect. His mind may have deceived him on one occasion. Having gone through many parts of the book and the audio lectures, I conclude that it is stuff that can help lots of people. The only problem is that the people who most need help, won’t spend the time to sort out their heads! This is a common scenario in life.
I’ve had other folk read some (other) very good books that I recommended. They would returned to say things like “That makes so much sense. It’s a great book..learned a lot.” Then like 1 week later, they continue as if the book had no chance of changing anything for them. So I would have said, “But you saw that same problem with your thinking in the book we discussed, and how to achieve change.” Then I’d be told, “Yes – but I wasn’t convinced“. Hang on a sec – I’m not saying that ‘everybody’ just reads a book and ought to be ‘converted’. The point here is that people need to be ‘convinced’.
The point in all this is:
- You (meaning people) can read and understand as much as you like – you ain’t changing anything soon.
- You need to be ‘convinced’ – instead of doing what the book says. Oh sure, if you’re not ‘convinced’ you’re doing nothing different.
- Understanding and appreciation changes nothing.
- People will spend hours reading good books with very good ideas but come away with nothing of value that changes their ways. [Did I say ‘everybody’? I did not! I’m obviously referring to a majority of people in my estimate.] In other words they’ve deceived themselves and wasted time.
- Why study ‘critical thinking’? Because people want change, or they think it will improve the quality of their thinking processes.
The ultimate deception of the mind, is that the mind is convinced that understanding, reading and education brings about change at some significant rate. It doesn’t! How? Because it has nothing to do with any of that. It has most to do with cognitive and behavioural patterns of operation. Understanding and education are weak change agents. Pain and suffering remain the most potent change agents – they break patterns.
So if you want to stop deceiving yourself, and to think more clearly – feel pain! That’s not what everybody wants to hear. Sorry! I speak it as I find it.
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