Tag Archives: Decision making

The Consistency Program

Powerful Mind Part 18
Created July 7, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Read Powerful Mind 17

“Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his Essay on Self-Reliance: ‘A foolish consistency
is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers
and divines.’ His point was that only small-minded men refused to rethink
their prior beliefs. Or, put another way, he thought that today’s intuition
could trump yesterday’s conclusions.” — Paul Rosenzweig, LAWFARE

Wise people have been aware of this excess invocation of consistency for some time, but their admonitions have been little grasped as cultural necessities. Why is that?

Decision making is the basis for all action by conscious agents of any species.

Almost all decision making is implicit, meaning the same as subconscious in this context. And because that literally means it takes place below the level of conscious awareness, it becomes understandable that many mental bad practices can persist for millennia.

Wise folks can and do tell us the right ways to live, and yet, even if it sounds good to us, we can’t seem to put their wisdom into practice.

That’s because it is harder to change mental habits than the wise have realized in the past. Those wise in today’s age are probably quite aware of the importance of this difficulty in taking control of one’s actions such that one is able to optimize real world decision making and its real world outcomes, without being helplessly dragged along by past inner scripts which have become lodged in our minds.

There is a subtle sense of time pressure in our culture – often not that subtle. Under these conditions (I call Acceleritis), it’s natural that one would want to be able to make fast decisions, especially about things which do not immediately seem to be all that important.

When one’s mindset is set that way (I call it Emergency Oversimplification Procedure), one way to speed up decision making is simply to be consistent with one’s past behavior.

We become imitations of ourselves, especially imitators of our remembered experiences. It would be more effective, if you’re going to imitate, to remember back to your best moments, and to emulate whatever you did at those moments. Although that would still be sub-optimizing. The best practice is to be real in the moment, filtering out only negativity.

What does that mean – being real in the moment. It means exposing your true current feelings in a positive way. Not remembering back. Not imitating yourself or anyone else. Just acting naturally, without the inner sense of being at risk. Not self-protective. Not defensive. Just yourself, but editing out any negativity. Translating what may feel negative on the inside so it’s just an objective statement of facts on the outside.

This is easy to say but not easy to do. Bringing autonomous auto-reactions under one’s own conscious control is a major life achievement.

There are tricks you can use, such as applying your sense of humor.

Such as not imitating yourself or anyone else.

Such as by not choosing to be consistent with what you said yesterday or ten seconds ago, choose instead to re-inspect what you were espousing, and learn about your current self-administration by doing that inspection. You’ll recognize this to be Key #2. The Keys all work together and there are many overlaps among them. Here we are beginning our journey into Key #3 and we can see how Key #2 helps achieve Key #3.

Consistency is a program in your mind. Supported by networks of neurons that interact in consistent ways. The universe has not given us a keyboard so that we could manipulate and change these neuronal patterns directly and so we shall have to build it someday, but in the meantime these Keys are the closest proxy we have for that keyboard. Which is not to dis-include the equivalent of Keys contributed by other thinkers on the subject, many of whom today are scientists, and many of whom today are spiritualists (which to them/us is an inner science). Feed your mind voraciously while keeping it steadily open.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,