“We are touchingly prone to mistaking our models of reality for reality itself, mistaking the strength of our certainty for the strength of the evidence, thus moving through a dream of our own making that we call life.”Maria Popova
“The very same machinery that makes you so adaptively intelligent is the same machinery that makes you susceptible to foolishness.”John Vervaeke
Hey siri? Can you rescue me from the self-imposed cognitive prison that’s been haphazardly molded around me purely as a consequence if showing up having my nervous system impinged upon?
Our brains are built to mold themselves completely around our goals. This seems stupidly obvious, yet, we cannot grasp how potentially harmful this can be. As we grow up – our interests, emotions, sympathy, tolerance, biases, are like shrink-wrap around a routine that is somewhat randomly and reflexively built – at the exclusion of all else. We are ignoring machines. In fact, the ability for the brain to ignore mind-boggling amounts of information and focus is a miracle. But, here’s the sinister part: we cannot see or feel how tight the shrink-wrap is – or – what we’re subconsciously missing.
“If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, familiar choices might actually blind you to the insights and options you need.”Jay Gordon Cone
Remember life as a kid? Everything was fascinating and wonderous. Cartoonishly so. You were likely welcoming of any person, any idea, any story. In one hand, this is totally naive and leaves you vulnerable. In the other hand, it felt like the sky was the limit. Life is pure potential. Open and blissful, even if bewildering and uncertain.
Contrast this with being an adult. You “know” things. Perhaps more than you want. You have deep identity to your profession, your friends, your goals, your life story, your wishes, your problems, your hurts. You have strong opinions about what you like and dislike. And you are probably extremely skilled at moving through your daily routine – effortlessly. Perhaps it feels boring.
The worst part is, our mind IS the tunnel, so we can’t use our mind to SEE how constricted it is, or more importantly, realize how the tunnel profoundly affects how we feel. Happy – sad – anxious – hopeful – peaceful.
Break the Tunnel
Though there is no panacea, humanity has powerful tools on the table. Step one is fully respecting the situation we are in (all of us are in) – we live somewhere inside our own brain which has wrapped this personal tunnel around us. How the hell can we get out?