Science Now Explains How Our Thinking Limits Our Consciousness

January 02, 2013

“If you’re thinking, you’re stinking!” is a favorite refrain of Access Consciousness® founder Gary Douglas and many other facilitators.

Now evolutionary psychologists have come up with an explanation of how we can, in effect, think so stupidly. As usual with Access Consciousness®, consciousness creates an awareness and then science catches up.

Psychology believes that what it calls “compartmentalized brain functions acting either in concert or in conflict” are the result of how the brain evolved. The brain evolved as a “Swiss Army knife of practical tools or an app-loaded iPhone,” according to research psychologists quoted in the January, 2013, issue of Scientific American.

According to this view of science, “there is no unified ‘self’ that generates internally consistent and seamlessly coherent beliefs devoid of conflict. Instead, we are a collection of distinct but interacting modules often at odds with one another.”

This is evolutionary psychology explaining why it can be so hard for us to absorb certain concepts in Access Consciousness®, or why, as Gary says, “You get it when you get it if you get it.” When you get it can often be after years of exposure to Access Consciousness®. Compartmentalized brain functions (otherwise known as “logic-tight compartments) are a scientific way of explaining what we have already observed occurs.

Consider using the words “awareness beyond this reality” or “consciousness” instead of “new scientific theories” in the quotes below:

“Compartmentalization is also at work when new scientific theories/awareness beyond this reality conflict with older and more naive beliefs. Several psychologists found that “subjects more quickly verified the validity of scientific statements when those statements agreed with their prior naive beliefs.” Couldn’t “prior naive beliefs” be another way of saying “everything we’ve been taught, believed, or were implanted with?”

The article continues, “Contradictory scientific statements were processed more slowly and less accurately, suggesting that ‘naive theories survive the acquisition of mutually incompatible scientific theory, co-existing with that theory for many years to follow.’”

Have you ever sat in a class where someone in the front row argued forcefully for their own worldview? Check out what else psychologists have to say:
“Northwestern University researchers found that when subjects’ closely held beliefs were shaken, they ‘engaged in more advocacy of their beliefs …than did people who’s confidence was not undermined.’”

Do you remember hearing Gary say “whatever people are trying to prove, they really believe the opposite?” Science is now figuring this out as well. “Enthusiastic evangelists of a belief may in fact be ‘boiling over with doubt,’ and thus their persistent proselytizing may be a signal that the belief warrants skepticism,” continues the article.

Morality, another limitation that Gary speaks about, creates even more distortion, say these psychologists. “Our moral emotions lead us to bend and distort data and evidence through a process called motivated reasoning. The module housing our religious preferences, for example, motivates believers to seek and find facts that support a biblical model of a young earth in which the overwhelming evidence of an old earth must be denied. The module containing our political predilections, if they are of a conservative bent, may motivate pro-capitalists to believe that any attempt to curtail industrial pollution by way of the threat of global warming must be a liberal hoax.”

Interestingly, the article does ask, “What can be done to break down the walls separating our logic-tight compartments?” Scientists from Western Australia had some suggestions, which just could apply to those attending and facilitating Access Consciousness® classes. “Consider what gaps in people’s mental event models are created by debunking, and fill them using an alternative explanation. To avoid making people more familiar with misinformation, emphasize the facts you wish to communicate rather than the myth.”

“Provide an explicit warning before mentioning a myth, to ensure that people are cognitively on guard and less likely to be influenced by the misinformation…” Isn’t this another way of describing what Gary does when he tells people at the beginning of an advanced event, “Welcome to the end of your life as you know it…”

The article continues, “Consider whether your content may be threatening to the world view and values of your audience. If so, you risk a worldview backfire event.” Is there anyone who has facilitated introductory classes who has not witnessed this happening?

Perhaps like all of us, there is one logic-tight compartment that the writer of this article did not penetrate—and that is the dominance of truth and scientific thought as we know it. “How (can) intelligent and educated people, in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, believe that evolution is a myth, that global warming is a hoax, that vaccines cause autism and asthma, that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration?” the article asked at the beginning.

What might happen if these and other unquestionable scientific beliefs were subjected to some questions, Access Consciousness® style? Might some compartment walls break down and some other interesting points of view emerge? Access Consciousness® might just move ahead of science yet again.

All of the quotes above were taken from the article, Logic-Tight Compartments, on p 77 of the January 2013 Scientific American. Many psychologists from all over the world were quoted in the article, written by Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine. You could comment on the article at ScientificAmerican.com/jan2013.



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