I have to admit that I don’t really have a clear picture of the exact plot of this course, this is as much an exploration for me as it is for you. What I do know is that it won’t be short. Some of the things will seem inconsequential, but the more you apply methods or tools, the easier it is to apply them next time. You can even combine them for greater effects once you get proficient.
It’s unclear when it ends. I’m still learning things, sometimes deliberately, sometimes backtracking a process, and it’s years of active practice that I’m trying to boil down.
The posts are best read in solitude, when you don’t have anything else drawing your attention. Sometimes it may seem like I’m out on a tangent, but if I am it’s because that tangent is important.
If you’re following this in real time, you can help me design the process. If there’s something you don’t understand, let me know. It’s likely that I’ve been unclear or not detailed enough, or sloppy with the terms. I tend to think in concepts, rather than words (I believe this is true for most adult humans) and when concepts overlap, I sometimes choose the wrong label or metaphor.
I know that the course starts with trust.
Trust is a very important filter in us. To me, it’s a facet of love. It’s an emotion triggered by predictability and similarity. And good looks. I’m not joking, the halo effect is real. Understanding which triggers are relevant (the halo effect rarely is) or how deceiving similarity can be allows you to fine tune your trust filter.
The opposite of trust is distrust, which I’d describe as a facet of fear. It can be triggered by aggressive behavior, unpredictability. And looks. I’m not joking, the horn effect is real.
We do automatic checks against our trust systems when we hear something surprising. If someone tells you they met Keanu Reeves but didn’t have any proof, you’re more likely to believe your best friend than if someone you perceive as a one-upping bragger.
However you cut it, this course will have a more powerful effect if I establish trust with you. In the end, belief and knowledge are the same thing. This is not to say that you shouldn’t question what I say. On the contrary. It is important that you do your own research if something feels wrong. Or is wrong. I know I’m wrong about stuff, I just don’t know which stuff. So far, the puzzle seems connected. The trust I’m asking for is to trust my intention, that I want to make the world a better place for the seven coming generations. By “better” I mean more equal. More aware. More educated. More connected to our inherent spirituality. My promise is to always be honest with you. When I talk about scientific theories, half of the time my point is not that they prove X, it’s that X is compatible with at least one scientific theory. There are also some philosophical assumptions – you don’t have to believe they’re true, as long as you keep an open mind that they could be true. If we can agree on that, then I promise not to lie.
You will inevitably encounter things that you feel an aversion to. Depending on your background, chances are that spirituality is such a concept. All I ask is that you keep an open mind about the topics that trigger you. The concept of spirituality in our minds is sometimes in conflict with science, which creates an illusion that you have to identify with either or. To me, there is no such division. The spirituality I am talking about is what some experience when they’re skiing, some when they’re painting, others when they listen to a concert, or in places like the woods or the beach. It’s when you forget about time and space, and either just enjoy existence, or create something. The connection we feel with each other, with nature.
My motivation to do this is:
Putting my knowledge, experiments and theories in words. Exploring the process and finding patterns in it has been both a profession and a hobby of mine. I’m writing a sci-fi novel, and it’s based partly on the insights I’ve gotten from this process. Hearing the objections to my conclusions helps me steelman my arguments.
Helping others unleash their full potential. I don’t know what that potential will be channeled as, but I trust the process. When I’m talking about “full potential” I’m talking about the possibilities of the mind. I’m not sure what the difference between mind and consciousness is, or if there even is any real difference, but either way it’s a spectrum – and I think we’re on the lower end of the scale of our full potential.
I don’t have any monetary incentives. There will be no fees, no ads, no selling of data. If this leads to lectures, I might charge for lectures, but that’s more for my time than my knowledge.
Just like you, I hold secrets. I try not to, they’re a burden, but sometimes necessity forces them on us. It’s in the nature of secrets that they’re secret, but I promise that none of my secrets affect my intentions with this course. But more on the power of secrets in a future lesson.
Your homework until next time is:
Reflect on who you trust. Which three people do you trust the most? Which three do you trust the least? Which professions? Which news sources? Which brands? Why do you trust or distrust them?
- The Good Place (seasons 1 and 2 – great primer for thoughts about philosophy and trust)
- Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (book)
- Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith (book)
- The Halo Effect and the Horn Effect (Wikipedia)
- Spirituality from a programmer’s perspective (an earlier post of mine on the relationship between knowledge and belief)