PREVIOUS: CDs & The Brain (Part 2)
See ACRONYM pg. for abbrev.
OUR BRAIN – Gathering Information (cont)
5. ALL ALIKE: The brain assumes all similar items are the same (all whites look alike to me / all rock music sounds like noise / all men are dogs!….)
• This originally had survival value so humans could respond instantly to a need or crisis, without ‘evaluating’ differences.
We still need automatic grouping – to save time, for ease of communication, to understand different things with a common meaning – like ‘scribbles’ or word-accents that represent the same word / idea….
• However, it can also lead to serious errors:
a. We can assume that all members of a particular group are alike
✓ Your mother was a nasty crazy lady, so you grow up to believing that, in spite of charming ‘disguises’, all women are nasty & crazy
b. It can be hard to notice subtle differences or gradual changes in others
✓ if you’re in Recovery – most people who’ve known you a long time will keep treating you based on how you used to be, just as some parents keep treating a grown son like a little boy
c. It can influence the way we behave / react to things around us
✓ Treating all snakes, body aches or drugs — as if they were the same — can be painful or fatal
✶ SO, one measure of intelligence is how well we can distinguish subtle variations among very similar people, things or situations.
6. BROAD TOPICS
• Focusing only on a narrow slice of life will only eliminate certain new items that are contradictory
EXP: Women raised by a controlling parent are more likely to believe ‘The Rules’ book. So in contradiction – being told by a teacher/ preacher/ therapist… that it’s not emotionally healthy to manipulate men – will automatically be dismissed.
Exception: a woman might accept suggestions opposed to the book’s premise, if it comes from a trusted ally.
• BUT the broader the topic, the more all types of contradictory info are rejected as false. Just the act of accumulating similar experiences will seem to confirm our original belief, right or wrong. That’s why people who are ‘trained’ in childhood to be winners tend to continue winning – or vice versa. So:
EXP: If we’re taught that our country, religion, ethnic community…. is the best, the only one to trust, is infallible… then any proof to the contrary will be ignored or make us angry!
✓ So too, if we have a bone-deep conviction that we’re worthless & unlovable, any compliment or acknowledgment is automatically rejected as b.s., even if said sincerely, & is actually true & valid about us!
7. INCOMPLETE: The brain can’t identify if it has complete info about a topic, so even when we suspect it, it can’t tell us what is missing
✓ This happed with a salesman & in college: I knew I was missing a crucial, pivotal piece of info to understand what I wanted to buy or was supposed to be learning, but I didn’t know what that was!
All I could do was ask haltingly, clumsily (sounding like an idiot!) & they’d tell me a bunch of stuff I did know. Sometimes, if I kept bugging them, eventually they’d go away in disgust OR ‘accidentally’ spit out the missing piece.
Yeah! I was happy, but by then they were very annoyed!
😡 When I expressed relief, they’d say “Well, I thought you already knew that!” because it was so obvious to them, they assumed I already knew it! Wrong.
Perpetuating Incomplete info:
• Mental laziness: not making a consistent effort to get info on topics that have an impact on our lives & well-being
• OR fear of asking, of having to take care of oneself, of no one wanting to help, of getting it wrong, of not being able to do what’s required….
• Either way, we automatically compensate by assuming we know things we don’t (Ass-u-me). Since we don’t realize we’re making assumptions, someone has to point them out.
Obviously, a lack of sufficient or accurate info will be a real road block to achieving our goals.
NEXT: INFO & the brain (Part 4)