Created August 23, 2021
The aim of reading this article is that it will stimulate your own mind to the degree that you can sense something is happening to you inside, and it will accelerate your own metacognitive programs (the ones you discovered for yourself) to further develop faster.
If it doesn’t work, please let me know.
Probably the most distinguished developmental psychologist of our age, John H. Flavell coined the term “metacognition” to mean the mind considering itself (those were not his words, he said “thinking about thinking, or more formally, cognition about cognition”). He wrote that in 1976.
That same year my manual for metacognition MIND MAGIC came out.
The only thing is, I didn’t know it was a manual for that; I had used the term “Observer state” to describe metacognition in its most practiced and achieved state.
Now that I have belatedly caught up with Dr. Flavell (and blown away by the William James brilliance of his writing) I see how to inject my work into the science of psychology (my minor). Of course, that makes me very happy. Marketing science and data science (specializing in optimization) have been my official sciences and now I have an avenue to potentially funnel my work on consciousness, into psychology. I anticipate synergies with the work of many others, especially neuroscientists who have identified the agencies by which certain qualia (inner subjective experiences) appear in the consciousness, as my work has focused within the qualia, the use of introspection and concentration to come up with “mind tricks” that pragmatically work to improve social interaction, finding one’s passion work, and performing it.
I promised a pre-experience of what it is like to go through the manual.
Let’s start with the quest for peak experience. We all have had them, and some people have them all the time. They are self-evidently desirable states to have more often. That is the aim here. The ultimate purpose of my work.
A map is always helpful when one starts a journey. How do we map the levels of waking consciousness?
- Maslow posited three states of waking consciousness, the first focused on deficiencies, the second focused on the release of one’s gifts, and a spiritual level he added toward the end of his life
- Csikszentmihalyi coined the term Flow to characterize the state of perfect action
- Flavell coined the term “metacognition” to mean the mind’s reflection upon its own behaviors and states
- If we put this all together on one map, mixed in with my own speculations and empirical findings, it looks like this:
Looking at the righthand bar, metacognition appears to be a precondition of the Observer state, just as the Observer state is a precondition for the Flow state. For example, the program known as the Will within the qualia appears more strongly in the Observer state than in beginner’s level metacognition. The Will is what is required to overrule one’s prior thought. The Observer state is still metacognition, but it is fully developed, especially in terms of the Will.
Metacognition – the practice of thinking about one’s thought processes
Observer state – the temporary or permanent ability to objectively challenge one’s own prior thought or feeling
Flow state – automatic “perfect” performance
There are today many brilliant writers on the subject of metacognition and I hope to meet all of them. In their writings as well as in Dr. Flavell’s, the prefix “meta” is seen preceding other functions of mind as in metamemory, etc. In the table below you will see many of these “metas”.
Mind Magic chapters, now that I can look at them through the lens of metacognition, can be classified as follows (I suggest a glance down the righthand column, then skipping the table for later contemplation). In the table, the word “challenge” always means to challenge oneself, inside.
The journey goes something like this for the reader:
A – I must have been in some sense hypnotized to have allowed myself to assume it’s OK for me to be living this desperate life
B – Living in this racing age, it’s understandable that as a soft babe I was certain to be awed into going along with all this and have never woken up since
1 – Since I obviously have to take control of my own life now, there’s no going back, I need some hints as to how to navigate, and the first thing I have to do is to avoid jumping to conclusions too soon, I have to check myself constantly
2 – Why did I just do that? I hurt someone’s feelings and I feel like an ass. What makes me act that way, I must locate the program, and fix it so my programmed mind stops doing that to me
3 – I sound like a broken record. Why am I always playing tapes of old stories or whatnot? I must find the root of that behavior and fix it so I can act anew every moment, from where I am in the now, not imitating my own past behavior
4 – I can save time by just doing my best and learning from my mistakes without making it personal, it’s pathetic how I good boy bad boy myself what a waste of time and how ignobly embarrassing
5 – Yes but what do I really want out of life? Is that what I really want? Am I potentially very good at that? What is the evidence for that? Ahah! I have found my dream again
6 – Taking in what is going on, situational awareness, studying people, keeping mind open
7 – Staying focused through complexity by revolving attention, maintaining many streams of thought at once
8 – Not rushing in prematurely but waiting for the foreseen to happen in the dance, nor hesitating past the right moment
9 – Dis-identifying with the contents of one’s own mind so as to be able to re-decide whether or not one wants to continue to wear each of those particular attitudes/beliefs
10 – I can actually look more closely at my thoughts arising, first there is a fleeting image or memory of some sort, followed by a feeling either good or bad, and then snatches of words I am saying to myself
11 – Why must I entertain negative feelings? Isn’t that like purposely wounding myself? I must creatively transmute negative feelings into positive action, without hesitation as soon as I sense negative feelings, stop knifing myself as soon as possible
12 – If I identify with all I perceive, I wind up nurturing other people and myself into the bargain, what an improvement over the selfish way I lived until now, not taking responsibility for others
Outroduction – A vicarious sample of what it feels like to be in the state exhorted by this manual
If you put this article into practice without needing the manual, I shall be extremely pleased. Reading more examples of these general principles helps when you are trying to embody new behaviors, which is why I wrote MIND MAGIC, feel free to go either way, please just get to be in the Observer state for as much of the time as possible, and into Flow as often as possible.
The present world situation requires it of all of us to be at our highest performing best. It might be the only way out, and the gift to us from the Universe, that She, Nature, is forcing us to find, by threatening to collapse our world around us, and we did it to ourselves by not using our heads.
In this case the end gift of higher mind may actually justify the scary means.
Best to all,