Posts

Showing posts from September, 2014

Everybody wants more

We are created with the urge to want stuff. You may think this is obvious but when you observe your own behaviour you will begin to realise just how pervasive wanting is - from the chocolate biscuit to the latest gadget to the lipstick on your face (not that I have any, ahem), it rules the roost. Indeed, sometimes we just want anything to satisfy that little urge in our lives. We want without knowing what we want - if you want something but you don't know what, observe the mind creating a thing that you will suddenly want.

Now, the next thing we observe is that we always want more. Once we go through the cycle of wanting/getting, we want to do it again. There is no such thing as getting enough, because it is the act of wanting/getting that is the good part - the thing we get is largely irrelevant.

So what are to do? Well, nothing. That is the beauty of wisdom - we see something and then it goes away. Once we realise what is going on we can take it or leave it - until that moment w…

Everybody wants something

This underpins a lot of behaviour and is quite invisible most of the time. It's an extraordinarily powerful driver of people but we don't like to see it. It makes us contradict ourselves, makes us divisive, manipulative and all those other self serving things. We can see it happening in Scotland. We judge people because of it, but there is nothing to judge. It is just wanting attaching itself to the next thing that comes along. We just have to be careful what we wish for.

Feeling the bias blind spot

The mind is very clever at doing things for us but it is ultimately operating in a world of its own - i.e. it is not seeing the world as it really is, just a constructed view of it. This constructed view is inherently full of flaws or delusions or tendencies to think in certain ways - cognitive biases.

I like cognitive biases because they remind me that I have been caught in some whirl of thinking that is not rational or balanced. The bias blind spot is when you operate under the assumption that you are not operating under any cognitive bias at all, but this is impossible. We are all operating under some form of interpretation of this world - one common analogy is that the fish cannot see the water it is swimming in, or another one might be the case where the eyeball cannot see itself. We all certainly have eyeballs but we'd be hard pressed to see it from the inside.

So first lesson in cognitive biases - we all have them and, if you have a constructed thought, you are operating wi…

Is Platon Karataev enlightened?

Platon Karataev is a character in War and Peace by Tolstoy, in case you were wondering. This book is very surprising because it contains a lot of epiphanies and transcendent references, but the Platon character takes it one step beyond - he seems to have many qualities that you might find in enlightened monks. The question then becomes, do we want to be like Platon Karataev?

(A side question might be, how did he end up prison?)