Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Misconception theory

The first time I ran across the misconception theory, was in a self help book by John Powell, perhaps 30 year ago. The difficulty with his approach is in figuring out what the misconception we carry really is, and then what is the correct or better conception. We store these conceptions among our beliefs, so we react automatically to these through the unconscious memory part of our brains, without thinking. When these are wrong, the result is wrong. It takes time to sort out and overwrite all these wrong beliefs.

Just to summarize the triune brain scheme, we have a primal portion, with interfaces to the senses, and reflex actions. Above that we have the unconscious brain where our beliefs are stored and our automatic reactions arise, and above that we have the conscious part where rational action can be planned, where reason and logic are the operating system. The logic may be twisted, or true, or with the  wrong weighting, but it is logic based. It can be over ridden with passions, but keep in mind that passions are delusions or expectations being frustrated or blocked.

This all fits with the Stoic concept of being in control of our mind, our beliefs, our own values, opinions, thoughts, motives, desires and aversions. We are not in control of places, people, things, and even our body. At best we can only influence a few things outside of our minds. We are therefore not impacted by events, but only our thinking about events. Knowing the few things we are logically responsible for, and that we are separate from the events, makes us free.   of all responsibility for the worlds happenings, even if others would like to load us with those responsibilities.

Yesterday some commentator said that alcohol related traffic events are preventable. If she thinks so, let her do the preventing. It is a guild shifting statement, not reality. For anyone who has lived with an alcoholic, this will be self evident. There is nothing preventable with alcohol. There concept of preventable is a blame shifting devise. 

CBT in it's various forms are all efforts to change the underlying beliefs that we react to automatically, and not logically to. There is space between the sensory input and our output. Training ourselves to take the time to examine the situation is what is required. There is much bullshit in this world in the public media. It is better to assume it is all bullshit until it is proven or demonstrate to be true in our application. God is man made, but what do I know.      

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