Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal Patreon for conversations on Theories of Everything, Consciousness, Free Will, and God: https://patreon.com/curtjaimungal Help support conversations like this via PayPal: https://bit.ly/2EOR0M4 Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOEwithCurt iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast… Pandora: https://pdora.co/33b9lfP Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4gL14b9… Google Podcasts: https://play.google.com/music/listen?… iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast… * * * 00:00:00 Introduction / Chit-chat 00:03:09 Views on Eric Weinstein and Wolfram’s Theories of Everything 00:06:09 Has “My Big TOE” been published in academic journals? 00:07:19 Back to Wolfram’s computational model of reality 00:08:44 Brian Whitworth’s TOE vs Wolfram’s 00:12:29 Klee Irwin’s account of consciousness 00:15:16 What predictions does Thomas’ TOE make? 00:30:35 On “entities” and communicating with them 00:42:01 Visiting “other worlds” in your mind 00:44:18 Giving advice to Curt on Transcendental Meditation 00:47:39 How can you have an “intention” but not use your “intellectual” in meditation? 00:50:01 Beginner tips for meditating 00:53:29 Should I meditate while getting a massage? 00:59:20 Training someone (from scratch) to remote view 01:04:01 Binaural beats and meditation 01:11:13 Can Thomas demonstrate his psychic abilities right now? 01:12:35 What evidence can Thomas cite (right now) regarding his theories? 01:15:16 Real remote viewing vs. fake 01:20:25 Using children to test if remote viewing works 01:24:06 Impressions from non-physical reality come to you instantly 01:26:19 Why can’t you use psychic abilities to win the lottery? 01:27:54 The evidence for the paranormal 01:28:56 The Randi prize and further evidence for Psi 01:35:56 Where do aliens / UFO’s fit into this model? 01:36:55 On Bob Lazar 01:39:59 Curt’s explications on Thomas’ view of Curt 01:42:01 Why should I care if my “consciousness” survives death if my personality / relationships don’t survive? 01:47:56 AUO is outside our imagination. Why the choicy use of tellurian concepts? 01:51:39 Curt’s final judgements Subscribe if you want more conversations on Theories of Everything, Consciousness, Free Will, God, and the mathematics / physics of each. * * * I’m producing an imminent documentary Better Left Unsaid http://betterleftunsaidfilm.com on the topic of “when does the left go too far?” Visit that site if you’d like to contribute to getting the film distributed (early-2021).
“Brilliant…as audacious as its title….Mr. Dennett’s exposition is nothing short of brilliant.” –George Johnson, New York Times Book Review
Consciousness Explained is a a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots–are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.
“Everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves to tell what is inside themselves.”
BY MARIA POPOVA (brainpickings.org)
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all,” Maya Angelou told Bill Moyers in their fantastic forgotten conversation about freedom. Beneath the surface of this paradoxical sentiment is a kind of koan, simple yet profound, replete with layered truth for those of us living expatriated lives — expatriated from a place or a culture, in space or in time.
Two generations before Angelou, Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874–July 27, 1946), living out her great love story as an American expatriate in Paris, addressed this paradox with uncommon insight and her own characteristic koan-like style in a passage from her 1940 novel Paris France (public library).
Stein — Jewish and gay, writing while the world was coming undone by warring nationalisms and gas chambers disbelonging human beings from life itself — observes:
Everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.
Stein notes that the Victorians found their romantic home in Italy, Americans found theirs in Spain in the first half of the nineteenth century and in England in the second, and her own generation found it in Paris. Prefiguring Angelou’s sentiment, she adds:
Of course sometimes people discover their own country as if it were the other… but in general that other country that you need to be free is in the other country not the country where you really belong.
I read this and think of Leonard Cohen’s lovely notion of poetry as “the Constitution of the inner country.” For me, living an unbelonging life in a country other than the one in which I was born and raised, poetry has been an increasingly vital portal to that inner landscape of freedom that Stein contours — a way of tending to and befriending the interior wilderness from which all creative work springs and which remains a sovereign territory of psychogeography, wherever one’s body may be located and whatever artificial borders may be drawn around it by outside observers.
Complement with poet and philosopher David Whyte on how to be at home in yourself and Toni Morrison on borders and belonging, then revisit Maria Kalman’s magnificent illustrated love letter to Gertrude and Alice’s love.
(Courtesy of Jerry Mayor)
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee
An Anglo-American aviator and poet. Magee served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States entered the war; he died in a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire in 1941.
(Courtesy of Guillaume Gris and Jerry Mayor on Facebook)
A south London street seen through the distortion of an orange prism, 29 January 2021. Photo by Richard Baker/In Pictures/Getty
Mary Margaret McCabeis professor of philosophy emerita at King’s College London, a fellow of the British Academy, and the chair of trustees of Philosophy in Prison. Her most recent book is Platonic Conversations (2015).
Edited by Sam Dresser
30 MARCH 2021 (psyche.co)
Philosophical accounts of truth and knowledge have long been in the grip of diabolical doubt: how can I get hold of the truth and be sure that I have done so? The truth is uncertain, and our search for knowledge is precarious. Epistemology is shot through with anxiety. Moreover, the diabolical strategy of René Descartes forces a reductive response: even if I might doubt anything else, my own existence, in my doubting, cannot itself be doubted. My wobbly falsehoods are eliminated by secure foundations for whatever I believe.
There is a parallel, though less recognised, problem about falsehood. For in supposing that falsehood could turn up anywhere or even (subject to diabolic interference) that it might be everywhere, we’ve missed the risk that falsehood might be nowhere at all. In the face of the worry about truth, a worry about falsehood might seem insignificant. After all, truth – so we might think – is what matters. Truth gets us to the market, to the train in time, to our nearest and dearest. Falsehood – so we might think – is useless or worse. Falsehood can’t help us in our ordinary lives, it can’t do anything for us, because it’s not true. But, in the early stages of Western philosophy, falsehood – not truth – was a dominant concern, and it generates a quite different anxiety, one we might find familiar today. That worry could help us to see that falsehood itself matters.
One argument goes like this. Suppose that truths are made by what’s out there, by pieces of the world becoming represented in propositions (or whatever). Falsehoods then are exactly not made by what’s out there. If truth is made by correspondence with what’s real, does falsehood correspond to nothing? But how could nothing make anything – including falsehoods? And if we get hold of truths by coming across their truth-makers in the world, how do we get hold of falsehoods if their makers just aren’t there?
A different argument goes like this. My perception of the world is private to me, and true for me. If that is so about my perception of the world, then why not for all my views of things? In that case, surely all my views are true (for me), and perhaps there’s no view from which they can be controverted. Yet we do seem to say things that are false: but how could that be true?
Some ancient sophists used these arguments to suggest that we don’t say things that are false at all. The right contrast is not between saying something true and saying something false, but between saying something true and saying nothing at all. This is not hyperbolical doubt, but hyperbolical certainty. Being right, then, would happen in a sequence of truths one after the other; expertise would be just the accumulation of more and more truths. Hyperbolical certainty’s exponents cannot be refuted, because to refute them is to show that what they say is not true, and so it begs the question against them. This position (on whichever argument) is useful: their clients will all get off scot-free in court, and their satellite politicians can declare their own truths without fear of rebuttal.
If falsehood matters, can it really be explained by a malfunction?
If truth just is what someone says when they say it, they can’t be gainsaid – so they aren’t accountable at all. If truth is everywhere, an opponent doesn’t say what’s false – she simply says nothing at all. The choice, then, is not between truth and falsehood, but between truth and meaninglessness, between saying what’s true and saying nothing at all. This suggests that no single saying can have any bearing on another – if all telling is truth-telling, there’s no such thing as showing someone wrong. This, in turn, renders it impossible to call anyone to account, since scrutiny is simply the questioning of whether someone might be wrong. That failure of accountability is pervasive in times of crisis, as we know all too well. But without accountability, any crisis can produce many more. Accountability, once discredited, is desperately hard to revive.
We know now just how dangerous hyperbolical certainty can be. The danger arises in part from Descartes’ demands that truth should have foundations. Hyperbolical certainty resists foundational principles (including the demands of consistency): if someone insists on ‘truth or nonsense’, they can’t be refuted in terms they accept. They can be voted out, of course: but that might be resisted by the believers – their opponents are just making noise.
Plato disagrees with the sophists and (perhaps surprisingly) defends uncertainty: falsehoods can be not-true without being empty. Truth needs defending, not by making it ubiquitous, but by making falsehood possible. However, this defence has to be indirect: the significance of falsehood needs to be understood contextually just because it can’t be demonstrated or shown at the foundations of truth. Plato starts with false statements: when someone combines a term that correctly refers and a predicate describing a property that exists but doesn’t belong to this referent, the statement that ensues might be false. (For example: ‘Frank the Fox is fulvous’ might be false, so long as there is a fox, Frank, out there for me to refer to and he doesn’t have the character of fulvousness, but is instead a rather grubby brown. Matters are, famously, different when a sentence’s subject term fails to refer; try talking about the present King of France, and the puzzles of falsehood reappear.)
But that deals with only a part of the problem. For when that happens, how does it happen? The mistake, it seems, lies not in the world (for, then, the combination of Frank and fulvousness would represent a truth) but in the combining: in mistakes made by the mistaker. This is a matter, then, not of sentence structure, but of the mind of the person who utters them, who wrongly attributes fulvousness to the fox before her: then what’s needed is an explanation of how that attribution fails. But the explanation of falsehood seems then to rely on a malfunctioning of the mind of the false speaker. If falsehood matters, can it really be explained by a malfunction? Is the idea of a ‘mistaking mind’ just a hopeless piece of Platonic pessimism? And, if it is, can it do the work of protecting the possibilities of truth? I propose that it can. In fact, it’s fundamental to the response to hyperbolical certainty that we’re possessed of mistaking minds, and that we recognise it.
Consider the development of effective dispositions for managing our way in the world. We might begin to understand this by thinking about skills. Suppose that I want to learn to play the piano. To do that, some initial success might be useful (I learn how to play the piano by having my early notes sound right) – but not all the time. For, as I come to make mistakes (as what I play gets trickier), they become noticeable exactly because they don’t work. The discord in my sight-reading, for example, shocks me into checking the music, and makes me take more care. The mistakes I make get me to pay attention, and to get better at the piano as I do.
Knowledge is thus not a solitary business, it’s what we do together
We might think the same thing is true of broader dispositions and capacities. Failure has a dismal property of self-intimation: when our purposes go awry, the mistakes themselves bring us up short. Once we notice mistakes, because they’re maladaptive and disrupt our purposes, we seek not only to put them right, but also to get better at avoiding them. So we see mistakes, reflect upon them, manage what we do next in order to avoid them, and seek improved ways of working, better dispositions to act. It marks progress towards knowledge, understanding and the capability for success: mistaking is well adapted.
Perhaps, then, our progress towards truth and knowledge works in the same way, even in the most abstract cases. Truth, to provide us with an effective disposition towards it, really needs falsehood. If this is how our mistaking minds progress, we don’t accumulate truths piecemeal but we develop a mental capacity that’s truth-orientated and successful, and we develop, especially, by being wrong. For that, the noticing and acknowledging of mistakes is vital, and we’re assisted by good epistemic character: honesty, perseverance, patience.
Plato gets this. He also understands, as a consequence, the place that falsehood occupies in the defence of truth. He insists that the sophists are to be refuted not directly, but indirectly: for the denial of the possibility of falsehood can’t be sustained in an extended argumentative exchange. This proposal has, he supposes, a corollary: that the understanding or knowledge we seek is founded on dialectical exchange – on the exposure of one’s views to the scrutiny of another, in showing that one view is true and another false. Knowledge is thus not a solitary business, it’s what we do together. Knowledge is fundamentally accountable: we’re knowers, wise, experts, only when we give an account to another person and receive it from them in turn. And this view of knowledge as accountable, Plato argues, should replace the greedy simplicity of hyperbolical certainty.
Then the context of epistemic progress becomes richer still. Truth and falsehood matter across the board, most notably in the formal process of accounting that belongs to politics. If accountability is central to knowing, rather than an extra constraint on the political process, we’re already enmeshed in obligations to others, in attitudes to how others see us and demands upon them to meet our joint enterprise, together: just in order to navigate the world amid uncertainty. For Plato, therefore, knowledge begins not with ‘I’ but with ‘we’: and amid his account of falsehood and the mistaking mind, we can see why. For there is a central connection between questions of character and questions of certainty and doubt. Cartesian scepticism drives a kind of nasty solipsism, to which Platonic joint enterprise provides a vital antidote. As for hyperbolical certainty, monstrous narcissism might be irrefutable in its own terms. But grant once the community of accountability, and the narcissist eventually gets voted out.
Philosophy Overdose The full interview of Hannah Arendt with Günter Gaus from 1964 with English subtitles: Zur Person – Was bleibt? Es bleibt die Muttersprache (What Remains? The Language Remains”). The translation is largely my own, but there also are parts from the Joan Stambaugh translation which were used here. There’s another English version of the interview on Youtube already with decent subtitles, but for whatever reason, around 13 minutes of the interview are missing. That was one of the reasons I decided to put together this one. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PhilosophyOv…
Jan Jarboe Russell on the Friendships That Inspired and Nourished a Former First Lady
“The giving of love is an education in itself.”
It was in Greenwich Village that Eleanor Roosevelt became the strong woman that we now know. From 1920 until the end of her life in 1962, she was actively connected to the political and social mix of the neighborhood. Paradoxically, her early years in the Village helped her gain the strength in her political convictions and in her personal confidence that would be essential to lifting Franklin to the presidency, even as their increasingly difficult marriage drove her to seek friendship and stimulation elsewhere—particularly in the Village. One might even legitimately wonder if FDR ever would have become president were it not for Eleanor’s ongoing and transformative experiences in the Village.
Eleanor experienced in 1920 what Ross Wetzsteon, editor of The Village Voice, captured in his book Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village: The American Bohemia, 1910–1960: “The essence of the Village was to create a miniature society where personal idiosyncrasy could flourish through communal society… Even Americans who remain hostile to the Village have become fascinated by it because it has become a kind of laboratory in which a nation at once dedicated to militant individualism and middle class conformity could witness attempts to overcome that paradox.”
In 1921 Eleanor made two friends who would influence the rest of her life: Esther Everett Lape and Elizabeth Fisher Read, a lesbian couple who lived in the Village. Read was a lawyer who later became Eleanor’s financial adviser, and Lape was a highly respected professor of English and journalist, and was a cofounder of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters (est. 1919). Together, they formed a three-way friendship that became the nucleus of Eleanor’s support network.
In the early 1920s they joined what was then called the “New Woman Movement” in Greenwich Village, part of a larger awakening and activism of educated and increasingly independent-minded women in Britain, Europe, and the US that dated back to the mid-1890s. The movement organized for social change, unions for workers, equal pay for equal work, and protection for child workers, and insisted on women having their own sexual freedom. Members disagreed about politics and political parties. Some, like Eleanor, were Democrats, while others were Socialists and Communists, even Republicans.Video list is empty.
Eleanor’s brand of feminism, shaped by these women, was moved by compassion, bottled-up sexuality, and the quest for her own truth. This all happened as the Village was coming alive, working around Prohibition and freeing women to drink or smoke in public with men. There was a determination to end misunderstanding and inequality between the sexes, and Eleanor and her friends, particularly Lape and Read, laid the groundwork for tackling gender inequality that would inspire the later 20th-century feminist movement.
Eleanor fought for women to be educated, to own their own property, and to receive equal pay for equal work. She and her friends often called themselves “the newest” of the “New Women.” Unlike the younger flappers, who favored bobbed hairstyles and short skirts and frequented speakeasies, the New Women organized for social change and freely disagreed among themselves about politics and political parties. “If women could believe they were free,” Eleanor said, “they could behave as if they were free, then they would be free.”
When Eleanor was tired at the end of a weary and ragged day, she would often go to 20 East 11th Street, where Esther and Elizabeth lived. The brownstone was built in the prewar style; it was five stories tall and contained nine apartments. The street outside their house was serene, and the mood in their book-lined living room was set by beautiful rugs and objects, and for Eleanor, a feeling of comfort and of being appreciated.Eleanor’s brand of feminism… was moved by compassion, bottled-up sexuality, and the quest for her own truth.
In the 1930s, Eleanor would rent a pied-à-terre of her own on the fourth floor, above Lape and Read. Her apartment would be small compared to her other homes, only 1,350 square feet, but it had high ceilings, good light, and a sunporch that overlooked the gardens on the roof. Eleanor often slept on the sunporch. Today, a plaque outside the house memorializes Eleanor’s time in the apartment; no mention is made of Lape and Read’s residence there.
As the 1920s got under way, Eleanor had little interest in her appearance, but fashion was very important to Lape and Read, whose clothes were custom-made. Lape’s were particularly extravagant—silks, velvets, brocades that lasted many years. Read wore dark tailored suits with string ties. In time, Eleanor used the same designer for her wardrobe.
Dress is a way of expressing one’s self but can also be a way of hiding. In those early years in Greenwich Village, Eleanor took her signals from the way that Lape dressed. They both wore large hats and black dresses that swept close to their ankles. Their bodies were hidden, but Eleanor held her head high, as proud of her height as she had been in England with Marie Souvestre and her circle of women friends.
The three women hosted small salons in the Greenwich Village apartment and invited other New Woman neighbors over for formal dinners. They read the classics and poetry aloud in French to one another long into the evening. The food was excellent, and even Eleanor sometimes sipped champagne. They talked about politics and organized ways that the New Women could promote rights for all women and all races of women. Many of Eleanor’s later ideas came from these dinners. In the presence of her friends, she felt an awakening in herself and a calming of her spirit.
Elizabeth Read wrote a letter to Narcissa Vanderlip about whether the cause of women’s rights was more important than private relationships. The letter said in part: “If a person is lucky enough to meet a human being that is worth devotion, that—in the absence of a crisis, or an all-compelling call—is the important thing—always remembering that selfish devotion defeats its purpose, that limiting life to the devotion eventually kills it. In other words, it is a matter of a balance that changes every day.” Eleanor remembered Read’s words and put them into action—to avoid selfish ideas, to care for her own soul, to help those in need.
Eleanor also took to heart Virginia Woolf’s idea that because the reality of life often overwhelms women, they must be stronger. As Woolf famously wrote: “So when I ask you to earn money and have a room of your own, I am asking you to live in the presence of reality, an invigorating life, it would appear, whether one can impart it or not.” All of this Eleanor decided was necessary and in the long run, she lived by Woolf’s ideas: to live in the presence of what is the truth, what is strong, what is real.
The Village was a refuge for Eleanor, not just a place but an idea—the idea of following the rhythm of who she really was. In addition to spending time with Lape and Read, she also relied on another lesbian couple, Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who lived in a cooperative building at 171 West 12th Street.
The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lived at 75 ½ Bedford Street, which, at nine feet six inches wide, was well known as the narrowest house in the city. In 1923, Millay became the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and also joined the ranks of the New Women and declared herself a believer in free love, which made her at home in the Village. These friendships enriched and changed Eleanor’s life.
In April 1921, Eleanor attended the National League’s convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and was exhilarated to meet Carrie Chapman Catt, the white-haired leader of the suffrage struggle, who spoke in support of the League of Nations and said: “Men were born by instinct to slay. It seems God is giving a call to the women of the world to come forward, to stay the hand of men, to say: ‘No, you should no longer kill your fellow men.’”
Even though she had her own ideas and interests, Eleanor knew she would also have to focus on her husband’s work, and expressed enthusiasm for doing so. In a note to Franklin from the convention in Cleveland, she wrote: “I’ve had a very interesting day and heard some really good women speakers. Mrs. Catt has clear cold reason… Minnie Fisher Cunningham from Texas is emotional and idealistic, but she made everyone cry!” Eleanor finished her note to Franklin this way: “Much, much love dear and I prefer to do my politics with you.”
In the spring of 1922, Nancy Cook, serving as the head of the Women’s Division of the New York Democratic Party, telephoned Eleanor and asked her to be a speaker for a fund-raising luncheon for activist women Democrats. Eleanor hesitated. She was a reluctant public speaker at the time. Her voice went up several octaves when speaking, which then made her giggle uncontrollably. She later tamed the monster, with Louis Howe’s help, and in time became a very good public speaker. But Howe encouraged Eleanor to speak at the luncheon. Eleanor arrived at the luncheon with a bouquet of violets for Nancy Cook.
As Blanche Wiesen Cook explained in her biography, “Between women, gifts of violets were quite the rage during the 1920s—they appear again and again in feminist literature as an international symbol of affection.” From then on, Eleanor considered Nancy Cook a close friend and called her Nan. A potter, photographer, and carpenter, Nan had short, wiry hair and an intense personality. She and her partner, Marion Dickerman, had met in graduate school at Syracuse University and had become lovers not long after. Marion was tall, ladylike, and quieter than Nan. In 1917, during the First World War, both Nan and Marion went to London as volunteers for the Red Cross. Marion quickly took to nursing the many wounded men, but Nan, a gifted craftsperson, used her skills to make artificial limbs for soldiers.
Of the two women, Eleanor favored Nan, whom she called a “boyish” girl. Both Eleanor and Nan were experienced political organizers, but Nan was also funny and roguish, and with her, Eleanor did things that horrified her mother-in-law, who particularly disapproved of Nan’s masculine clothes. Eleanor once appeared with Nan at a family event, dressed in matching knickerbocker outfits with vest and jacket.
To his credit, Franklin welcomed Nan and Marion to his and Eleanor’s circle of close friends. Often he teased the women; he was “Uncle Franklin” and they were “the girls.” Louis Howe and Franklin joked that the women were “she-males,” a loaded phrase that conveyed their belief that Eleanor and her women friends would never be equal to men at home or in politics. Nancy and Marion laughed at FDR’s joke, but Eleanor was not amused. Nor was she likely pleased when her cousin Alice called Nancy and Marion “female impersonators.”
Eleanor was increasingly caught between two lives: the life she had once had with Franklin versus the life she now had in the Village with other New Women. In June 1921, Eleanor asked Lape and Read, who were open about their lesbian relationship, to stay for a few days at Hyde Park with her and her family.
“My mother-in-law was distressed,” wrote Eleanor. “I had begun to realize that in my development I was drifting far afield from the old influences.”
At the end of their stay, Lape remembered, “Franklin took us to the station, carrying our bags. He was wearing one of those baggy brown suits. He looked so strong and healthy.” That would be the last time that Esther saw Franklin standing on his own two feet.
Excerpted from Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright © 2021 by Jan Jarboe Russell.
Have you ever successfully changed someone’s mind? Has someone ever convinced you to alter your thinking on a certain issue?
By John Otis
March 26, 2021 (NYTimes.com)
How often do you struggle to connect with a loved one who holds a different set of beliefs, values or opinions from you? Has there been a time when you earnestly tried to change someone’s mind about an important issue? Do you think most people are open to the possibility of rethinking their firmly held beliefs? How open are you to changing your own views?
In “The Science of Reasoning With Unreasonable People,” Adam Grant, a psychologist, writes about the challenges of trying to change someone’s mind:
As an organizational psychologist, I’ve spent the past few years studying how to motivate people to think again. I’ve run experiments that led proponents of gun rights and gun safety to abandon some of their mutual animosity, and I even got Yankees fans to let go of their grudges against Red Sox supporters. But I don’t always practice what I teach.
When someone seems closed-minded, my instinct is to argue the polar opposite of their position. But when I go on the attack, my opponents either shut down or fight back harder. On more than one occasion, I’ve been called a “logic bully.”
When we try to change a person’s mind, our first impulse is to preach about why we’re right and prosecute them for being wrong. Yet experiments show that preaching and prosecuting typically backfire — and what doesn’t sway people may strengthen their beliefs. Much as a vaccine inoculates the physical immune system against a virus, the act of resistance fortifies the psychological immune system. Refuting a point of view produces antibodies against future attempts at influence, making people more certain of their own opinions and more ready to rebut alternatives.
Dr. Grant continues, explaining the concept of “motivational interviewing”:
Several decades ago, when treating substance abuse problems, psychologists developed a technique called motivational interviewing. The central premise: Instead of trying to force other people to change, you’re better off helping them find their own intrinsic motivation to change. You do that by interviewing them — asking open-ended questions and listening carefully — and holding up a mirror so they can see their own thoughts more clearly. If they express a desire to change, you guide them toward a plan.
Say you’re a student at Hogwarts, and you want to help your uncle reject Voldemort. You might start like this:
You: I’d love to better understand your feelings about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Uncle: Well, he’s the most powerful wizard alive. Also, his followers promised me a fancy title.
You: Interesting. Is there anything you dislike about him?
Uncle: Hmm. I’m not crazy about all the murdering.
You: Well, nobody’s perfect. What’s stopped you from abandoning him?
Uncle: I’m afraid he might direct the murdering toward me.
You: That’s a reasonable fear — I’ve felt it, too. Are there any principles that matter so deeply to you that you’d be willing to take that risk?
In controlled trials, motivational interviewing has helped people to stop smoking, abusing drugs and alcohol, and gambling; to improve their diets and exercise; to overcome eating disorders; and to lose weight. The approach has also motivated students to get a good night’s sleep; voters to reconsider their prejudices; and divorcing parents to reach settlements.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
- How often do you interact with people who hold different opinions or values from you? Can you get along well with those who don’t share your views? Are those relationships valuable because of those differences — or in spite of them? How important is it to engage in conversations with people whose ideas clash with our own?
- Dr. Grant writes that when we engage in confrontation, “our first impulse is to preach about why we’re right.” He also uses the term “logic bully” to describe people who vehemently express their opinions. Have you ever been in an argument with a “logic bully” — or been the bully yourself? How did that conversation go? Do you think doggedness — or refusing to back down — is necessary when it comes to confrontation? Or does it end up doing more harm than good in your experience?
- According to the article, rebutting someone’s point of view can make that person more certain of his or her own opinions. How worried are you about falling prey to the same fallacy? Has your sense of pride ever made you hesitant to about accepting new information that could change your mind? How might someone combat that instinct?
- What do you think of the concept of “motivational interviewing”? How important is it to listen to opposing views — even those that clash with our own values — instead of pushing back on them? Is it challenging to have a discussion with someone who might know more than you? How might you apply motivational interviewing in your own life, if at all?
- Can you recall a specific time when you were able to change someone’s mind? Did that person’s open-mindedness surprise you? Alternatively, have you ever had your mind changed after a thoughtful discussion? What was that experience like?
(Submitted by Gwyllm Llwydd)
My Big TOE: Awakening
Book 1 of the MY Big TOE trilogy.
My Big TOE, written by a nuclear physicist in the language contemporary culture, unifies science and philosophy, physics and metaphysics, mind and matter, purpose and meaning, the normal and the paranormal.
The entirety of human experience (mind, body, and spirit) including both our objective and subjective worlds is brought together under one seamless scientific understanding.
Book 1: Awakening –
Section 1 provides a partial biography of the author that is pertinent to the subsequent creation of this trilogy. This brief look at the author’s unique experience and credentials sheds some light upon the origins of this highly unusual work.
Section 2 lays out and defines the basic conceptual building blocks needed to construct My Big TOE’s conceptual foundation. It discusses the cultural beliefs that trap our thinking into a narrow and limited conceptualization of reality, defines the basics of Big Picture epistemology and ontology; logically infers the nature of time, space, and consciousness as well as describes the basic properties, purpose, and mechanics of our reality. Many of the concepts initiated in Section 2 are more fully explained in Book 2.
Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal Thomas Campbell is the author of My Big TOE trilogy (MBT) which represents the results and conclusions of his scientific exploration of the nature of existence. This overarching model of reality, mind, and consciousness explains the paranormal as well as the normal, places spirituality within a scientific context, solves a host of scientific paradoxes, and provides direction for those wishing to personally experience an expanded awareness of All That Is. Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nyXB… Thomas Campbell’s WEBSITE: https://www.my-big-toe.com/ Thomas Campbell’s DISCORD (unofficial): https://discord.gg/mX2k8J2bUU 00:00:00 Introduction 00:03:05 How did he come up with his Theory of Everything? 00:10:05 There’s more to reality than what’s operationally defined 00:12:27 Evidence involving remote viewing 00:20:59 Remote viewing vs Out of body experiences 00:24:45 Variables that affect Psi (paranormal) phenomenon 00:27:26 Writing the “My Big Theory of Everything” book (My Big TOE) 00:34:44 Brief overview of MBT (My Big TOE) 00:42:03 Overcoming the non-renormalizability of General Relativity (to merge with Quantum Field Theory) 00:46:08 Campbell’s model is larger than just unifying the fundamental forces 00:47:59 Writing the book for the logical vs. intuitive types 00:52:05 Mathematics doesn’t explain but describes 00:52:57 But what about Platonism? 00:53:40 Eric Weinstein and Stephen Wolfram (briefly mentioned) 00:58:16 Explaining the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics 01:00:56 Donald Hoffman’s views vs. Campbell’s vs. The Matrix 01:03:33 The intellect vs. the intuitive part of you (which one to let go, if any, and how?) 01:10:30 Jung vs. Campbell 01:12:51 Curt’s rant against “fear” / “ego” being the problem 01:20:18 Jordan Peterson vs. Campbell 01:27:04 Explications on fear 01:32:29 Is “your” consciousness separate from “you”? 01:34:26 Definitions of AUO and AUM (the foundational consciousness that preceded the universe) 01:38:16 Curt objects, mathematically, to the definition of entropy and other claims 01:46:05 We live in a “Virtual Reality” 01:52:29 What is “you”? What’s identity? Are your body or mind? 01:56:35 Identity and death. What part of “you” survives after your body? 02:01:54 Relationship between consciousness and ego 02:05:34 Why follow our “intuition” when it’s notoriously inaccurate? 02:09:50 Psychedelics are “real bad idea” for personal growth 02:20:06 Do psychedelics open the same doors as meditation? 02:24:20 The problem with our society is politeness (but how to raise children, if not to be polite?) 02:27:41 How can we have morality without an appeal to ego? 02:40:33 The place of science in the study of consciousness 02:42:12 Out of body experiences (specifics of Campbell’s first journey) 02:45:27 Helping Curt with Transcendental Meditation 02:49:54 Non-dualism vs. Campbell (is truth subjective?) 02:58:09 Is the world determined? (asked by: G 007) 03:03:05 Why not start with “nothing” rather than consciousness? (asked by: Repair Man Scully) 03:07:01 How can you see aura’s through photographs? Are they recorded in pixels? 03:08:50 Can we query NPMR and find out how to place second quantization / path integrals on rigorous foundations?