THE BELIEVING BRAIN
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS
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This summary has more sentences than the briefer summary in the introduction page. Read this to decide whether to go further. (How can you better manage your brain if you don't decide to understand this fully, as this is part of a "how the brain works" knowledge that is necessary for one to actually manage the brain, and correspondingly to manage one's life and happiness?)
We "learn" patterns "to survive" (many 'false positives', aka matches, occur, so
we must screen for what is and is not true, before we react!)
It automatic to imagine patterns (but they are not always true, associations can be
Brains are evolved pattern-recognition machines
An example: Relationships, and how we add meanings ('eternal bliss') to them that
are created but not actual
We create "rules of thumb", patterns of workability - Called beliefs, which are
often not true!
We must realize that it is just a pattern, composed of what to do and feel - We
think it is true and real, but it often isn't! (Buddhism and all meditation
practices teach this!)
These become "habits", which can't be overcome so they must be replaced.
We must intervene (or the untrue and unworkable will continue, and run us!)
We must replace these dysfunctional key "habits" - Intervening, correcting
them based on feedback, adjust them, repeat the new ones...and practice,
Learn to become a champion in relationship - learn what works!
Habits rule us! - Use and develop them effectively, for an easy automatic life
We have emotions we can't and we can control. (Know which!) [But we can do something in response to them, something that will alter the next emotions.]
Patterns and jumping to conclusions, leads us to have thinking errors:
Generalizing, anecdotal evidence, shortcuts, not using critical thinking, making the
We create a (false) sense of control - We can't control some things but we
pretend, and that causes us to not correct a misbelief!
To reduce uncertainty; we invent an alternative "agent" (entity or 'being') and we
create voluntarily delusional controls; we attribute intention and will to inanimate
objects or made up entities, where there is none!. We even create the "inner
child" myth, a "dark shadow" and, amazingly, "universal intelligence". Even our
emotions are give separate "power" and intent - where these is none! (This is
We make up things that are not real, yet we believe they are, forgetting that we
created them only in our brain - We must know this, question the automatic
thoughts. the habitual beliefs, that come up. We must see them ("differentiate"
them from what is actually true...or we'll stay in being stuck!
We must accept "the weather" of life - Not accepting reality creates unhappiness!
Know the mechanism that creates belief - Dopamine locks in things as if they were true
Misbeliefs - Mechanically we find patterns where none exists; we must correct this!
Beliefs come first and automatically - And then reasons are created and we
selectively, but inaccurately, find evidence to support them...and then we
defend them, for a huge waste in energy!
Cognitive bias - We screen out what doesn't "fit", to protect what we believe; major error!
The basic idea behind all this stuff about beliefs/stories:
If we don't use awareness, feedback and then critical thinking, we will be stuck
with what doesn't work in life and we'll keep on reexperiencing problems,
Note: These items above are things we must know to live a good life - and then implement the correct version of things!
Read these if you do not yet have mastery over them!