Sunday, April 1, 2018

Your logical mind is an illusion.

Materialists like to claim they are more rational and logical than other people. However, those claims do not mean what they think they mean. When it comes to matters of spirituality, you will do better to use your intuitive / empathic mind. Many of the mystical concepts you read about: oneness, unconditional love, God is love, egolessness, no-self, not-self, are things you have to feel to understand. The rational / logical mind is not going to help with that. Furthermore, contrary to the materialists claims, you cannot trust the logical / rational mind to help you find the truth.

Scott Adams, who in addition to being the author of the comic strip Dilbert, is a trained hypnotist. In an interview on FoxNews@Night with Shannon Bream on March 19, 2018, Scott Adams explained that hypnotism teaches us that people don't use logic to make decisions even though we think we do. (2:59:

We humans ignore facts but we think we don't. The great illusion of life is that we're rational beings making rational decisions most of the time. But when you become a hypnotist, the first thing you learn is that that's backwards and that mostly we're deciding based on our team, our feelings, our emotions, irrational reasons, we make our decision and then we rationalize it no matter how tortured that rationalization is."

University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt expressed similar views in his book The righteous Mind. He wrote that people don't use reason to form their beliefs, they use reason to justify their beliefs which they form for emotional reasons. William Saletan described Haidt's views in the Sunday Book Review:

Why Won’t They Listen? ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt By WILLIAM SALETAN SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW MARCH 23, 2012

The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.

People can be persuaded. But we are not persuaded by logical arguments. We are persuaded by psychological tricks of various types that take advantage of various instinctive human behaviors*. These behaviors are probably in some way evolutionarily adaptive but they have little basis in reason.

Related Links:

  • Persuasion Reading List – Updated 1/18 Scott Adams' reading list on persuasion. You can find information by the authors of some of these books on the internet if you don't want to read the books.*

    You Do Not Think Alone
    A new book argues that thought and knowledge are community efforts
    By Gareth Cook on June 20, 2017


    Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach, two cognitive scientists, draw on evolutionary theory and psychology. They argue that the mind has evolved to do the bare minimum that improves the fitness of its host. Because humans are a social species and evolved in the context of collaboration, wherever possible, abilities have been outsourced. As a result, people are individually rather limited thinkers and store little information in their own heads. Much knowledge is instead spread through the community—whose members do not often realise that this is the case.

    You're not as smart as you think you are.


    People overestimate how well they understand how things work. Direct evidence for this comes from the psychological laboratory. The great Yale psychologist Frank Keil and his students first demonstrated the illusion of explanatory depth, what we call the knowledge illusion. He asked people how well they understand how everyday objects (zippers, toilets, ballpoint pens) work. On average, people felt they had a reasonable understanding (at the middle of a 7-point scale). Then Keil asked them to explain how they work. People failed miserably. For the most part, people just can’t articulate the mechanisms that drive even the simplest things.


* Below are some examples of the ways people are persuaded. Notice that they do not rely on logic and reason.

  • Blair Warren wrote: "People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies." If you are aware of this, you will be more resistant to this method of persuasion. Learn more about this at:
  • It is easier to be fooled by something that seems to agree with your beliefs than by something that contradicts them.
  • Certain words can influence you to think in ways that will cause your own mind to aid in persuading you. For example, if someone says, "Imagine ...", it causes you to visualize what they want to to believe. "Because" is also a "power" word. When you give a reason, even a weak one, people are more likely to do what you ask. "You" is another "power" word.
    More of these "power" words and explanations of why they work can be found at these links:
  • Robert Cialdini is a professor of psychology who is a well known author on the subject of persuasion. He has identified several "principles of influence":
    • Reciprocity - We feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us.
    • Consistency and commitment - When we make a promise, we feel obliged to work hard to fulfil that promise. When we make a decision, we like to feel that this is the right decision for us.
    • Social proof - We copy what others do, especially when we are unsure.
    • Liking - If you can make people like you for example by showing them you are like them and or by praising them, they will be easier to persuade.
    • Authority - We defer to people who seem superior.
    • Scarcity - When things become less available, they become more desirable.
    • Click, Whirr - When certain cues are presented to us, we feel an urge to complete actions that have, in the past, been successfully paired with the cue.
    • Unity - Any sense of shared identity such as family, ethnicity, geography, etc. can aid in persuasion.

    You can take an on-line quiz to test your knowledge of these principles at

  • Subliminal Persuasion, Conversational Hypnosis: The web site explains several techniques of subliminal persuasion or conversational hypnosis.

    If someone tries to influence you directly you might naturally resist them. But there are several techniques that can be used to sneak information past your "resistance filter". The general principle is that instead of making a statement or suggestion directly, it is included in a broader statement so you hear it indirectly while you are focused on something else.

    1. Questions: If someone makes a direct statement, you might doubt it. But if they put the information into a question that assumes what they want you to believe, you may get distracted thinking about the answer to the question rather than whether the premise is true.

    2. "And" and "But": If someone tells you something you don't want to hear you might start to argue with them. But if they give you the bad news first followed by "but" and something good or positive, you are less likely to start arguing. They also might add more positive statements linked by "and".

    3. Because: People are more likely to do what they're asked if given a reason even if the reason is not very compelling. If things seem to make sense people don't look too closely at it and it may slip past their resistance filter.

    4. A means B: This is another way to sneak things through your resistance filter. If you're reading this, it means you are learning important information that will help you avoid being manipulated. That sentance was an example of a means b. Did you notice it?

    5. Awareness patterns: Certain words and phrases cause you to assume what is being said is true rather than question it. For example, "As you know ... ", "Clearly...", "Undoubtedly ...", "I'm sure you realize / notice / see ..."

    6. Agreement Frames: Instead of disagreeing outright someone may say they agree, but then try to convince you of something else. "I agree, and this means ..." or "I agree, and what's more ...". Notice they use the word "and" not "but". They may agree in principle or agree that something about what you said is true without ever directly saying they disagree.

    7. Pacing and Leading: This technique tries to sneak a suggestion past your resistance filter by presenting you with a natural progression of events. You get distracted by the logic of the progression and are more willing to accept the suggestion.

    The article at has links to pages with example that illustrate these methods.

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