One of the key cognitive errors is a misunderstanding of the difference between description and reality. Between what we observe and what we think about what is observed.
A function of our thinking is to reduce an infinite variety of reality to a limited, but resectable models – mental, symbolic, material, digital, etc. – so that on the basis of past data with satisfactory accuracy to predict the future and offer ways of its projected changes. And the main criterion for satisfaction is survival. If we foresaw that we’ll jump a Jaguar or collapse the stone, and taking timely steps to avoid it, you will automatically experience satisfaction.
Predicting the future is a critical survival factor, since in a rapidly changing environment is a strategy that relies only on the response already happened, are only effective for those creatures who have the average life required for reproduction, is less than the average interval of time between games. So one has to anticipate the future for both individual and collective survival. And the most important tool of foresight is thinking.
Power of thinking is such that it overshadows the reality
But the power of thought is such that it overshadows reality. This means that the implementation of the mental operations to model elements perceived by the individual as an observation of reality. Moreover, thinking becomes self-sufficient and generates models that do not have absolutely no predictive power, but give a sense of satisfaction.
“Any ribollita English with “CNBC” Boyko explains why the Euro fell last night, but you never know what will happen tomorrow, as if it is not tempted to spoil in continental Europe. That’s all human foresight.”
Victor Pelevin, “Pineapple water for a beautiful lady”
In a stable favorable conditions, when there is no apparent connection between the predictive power of the model and the fact of survival, lost the urgency in making, generating or testing new models, which means the degradation of mental abilities.
In consumer society, the models themselves become the object of consumption, which gives rise to a market of explanations that do not explain anything, but elicit an emotional response. And many “analysts” modern media is engaged in the production of a counterfeit of thinking, which is assessed the end user is not predictive force, but provided for him, the consumer, the hormonal effect.
“…financial Advisor and especially the journalist does not need a valid picture, it is enough catchy phrase, looking convincing causal relationship, which is not a misinformation at one hundred percent. Our mind is so constructed that swallows the bait always.”
Victor Pelevin, “The Lamp Of Methuselah”
The human mind continually consumes, reproduces others, and produces its own models of reality, and the essence of intellectual education is to learn to ignore the useless model and save model fit. Higher level education is that to produce a usable model. However, the detection of parasitic social groups, the effect of satisfaction that the population is suffering from the evil, but attractive models led to the filling space of cognitive forgery, regular consumption of which by itself destroys the human ability to cull unprofitable models and create suitable.
Freedom of the mind
But a successful mindset is the flip side. Systematic to obtain satisfaction from the application and construction of suitable models also leads to a dependence on the satisfaction and attachment to the thinking as to the generator of desirable hormones. This hormone product creates a hallucinatory effect, the illusion of the omnipotence of thinking – the seeming ability to explain everything – and self-righteousness.
Therefore, those who apply and creates a model fit, subject to the same cognitive error as the consumers/generators models worthless. Moreover, one and the same person might successfully think in terms of their professional activities, but do not have immunity to mental counterfeits, simulates his daily life, whether family, social or spiritual.
Thus, thinking is a tool that can help us to survive in the changing world, but it also enslaves us with its success.
There are tools, such as critical thinking, which minimize the error of thinking. These tools are largely retrospective and are applying current thinking to past thinking. However, they remain in the mental sphere and does not allow to overcome outlined in the beginning of cognitive bias, nor does it give the antidote to emotional dependence from the fact of mental activity and its results.
The way to learn not only thinking, but also contemplative metacognitive skills that allow us to go beyond the limits of thinking as such, developing the ability not only to think but also aretrospective to contemplate and processes of building models, and the effect of obtaining satisfaction as to the results of thinking, and the thinking process.
Contemplative skills can overcome the limitations of those fundamental distortions, on which rests thinking
It is important to emphasize that these skills generally do not improve the thinking, that is, does not necessarily lead to fundamentally new thinking results unattainable by traditional methods, nor do they boost mental processes. They allow to overcome the limits of those fundamental distortions, which, paradoxically, is actually the bedrock of thinking, without breaking it thinking as such.
Among these contemplative metacognitive skills is the most important pressdata intuition, Prajna, which is not to be confused with either the instinct that first comes to mind, no intuition, based on practical experience and allows “slip” a lot of the thinking steps. One of the features of intuition-Prajna is the ability to see not what is there but what is missing. However, a more important property that distinguishes Prajna, is that its main subject is unthinkable, that is, that cannot be the object of attention and thinking.
Prajna allows one to clearly distinguish between what we observe and what we think about what is observed. Allows to distinguish what we know from what is perceived and what we believe. Thinking allows you to distinguish between good and evil. Prajna is to distinguish between illusion and reality.