illuminating LIFE’S ILLUSIONS: By Looking Inside My Mind
H B Gelatt
In my opening blog, June 9th, I said I really don’t know life at all because my view of reality often includes illusions. And I admitted that I really don’t know as much as I think I know. I forgot to include what I don’t know about what I don’t know. At the end of the blog I wrote, “Much of our reality is a confusing, cognitive mess, highly irregular, disorderly, and not only more or less unpredictable, but also more or less unknowable. You and I really don’t know reality at all.”
Although all through my Positive Uncertainty “philosophy” (1962), and my Process of Illumination strategies (2007) I have preached about the human mind’s tendencies toward erroneous perceptions of reality and promoted strategies for overcoming this,
I now believe that the problem of our ability to perceive reality “objectively” is even more complex and more problematical.
I want to convince others of this complexity and encourage us all to try to illuminate and enhance the way we see and interpret reality. Therefore I am proposing some personal illumination strategies for the way I see reality, hoping you will respond with comments about my premise and suggestions for how you enhance the way you see your reality.
Personal Illumination Strategy: Changing my assumptions into questions
There is an old joke about a man who asks a stranger the way to Edinburgh, to which the stranger replies: “If I were going there, I wouldn’t start from here.” If I want to go to a better understanding of my illusions, I probably shouldn’t start from where I am — where I am mentally that is. Where I am mentally determines where I decide to go. This is called my mindset.
A mindset is “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations” (dictionary). We all have a fixed mental attitude and chances are we don’t know what it is. My mindset is made up of my assumptions, some of them unknown. (I use the term assumption to include belief, opinion, supposition, thoughts, point of view, etc.).
If I could identify my assumptions and ask questions about their validity, I might learn about my mindset, and be able to make it more malleable and to enhance it. For example, one of my assumptions is: “Much of our reality is a confusing, cognitive mess, highly irregular, disorderly, and not only more or less unpredictable, but also more or less unknowable. You and I really don’t know reality at all.”
Questions I might ask: If we don’t know reality, why should I bother to understand it? And if I should, how do I do it? What parts of reality do I really know? What parts don’t I know? This will force me to investigate a basic ingredient in my mindset that determines my interpretations of reality.
The problem with me looking inside my mind is that I am using my subjective mind. Can you help me with these answers?