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How many people set their clock ahead five minutes so they believe they have more time before they have to do something?
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Is it easy to make yourself believe false perceptions?
Posted: 12 December 2006 04:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Is it easy to make yourself believe false perceptions? What we perceive, on a daily basis is not always what is true and we often recognize what we want to perceive to be true whether or not it is true or false, just to make life a little easier.

How many people set their clock ahead five minutes so they believe they have more time before they have to do something? I do it. Even though I know the clock is five minutes fast still, when I look at it for an instance, I believe the time I perceive at that instance is the true time. It is only when I ¤chooseË to remember, that the clock is five minutes fast, do I realize that I have an extra five minutes to get ready.

Why is this? Humanity╠s ability to reason allows it to perceive an event and then to choose how this impressionable event will be absorbed within ones historical understanding of reality.

I am really good at faking myself out when it comes to the five-minute clock thing because I have done this since I was a kid getting ready for school. Is it a habit, I do not think so. It is how I perceive time and events within my reality. I easily create a false reality in order to make my life a little more manageable.

What separates humans from other living creatures on earth is our ability to reason and to choose a future outcome based on multiple possibilities and this ability allows for some of us to choose an erroneous or an irresponsible future event.

This is done with many events as we go through life. Some humans allow their reasoning faulty to allow the justification of gods and other religious perceptions of reality to come into their daily life. As a form of survival to justify the misunderstood or mistaken events that sometimes cause fear or confusion within their reasoning ability, placing the unknowable in the realm of the omnipresent allows this human comfort from their unreliable reasoned events.

One human may say, ¤I made a mistake in my perception of reality and so if I now believe god will help me correct it or at least allow me to live with the consequences, I can continue to exist without guilt.Ë Here an incorrect interpretation of a perceived event has lead this human to rely on a perceived false deity to ease their unreliable reasoning ability.

Because it is easy for the human to psyche it’s self out and believe that their mistaken choice was perceived correct or acceptable however, now this human must live with the consequences, and as a result, their present and future existence will be based on a false reality. The greater the mistaken choices that are incurred in ones life the further away one gets for a ¤trueË reality.

Because our reasoning ability is really a judgment call and because of this we as humans may not always get it right we must also have a recoil of judgment that can allow us to start again at a new and more centered true point of existence.

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Posted: 12 December 2006 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A book I would make required reading for everyone if I were Dictator for Life, is Don’t Believe Everything You Think by Thomas Kida. It is a concise and cogent explanation of common habits of thought that facilitate believing what isn’t true. Everything he says appears intuitively obvious and yet we all fall into the traps daily. His six main themes are:
1)Emotional anecdote moves us mor than statistics/reason
2)We are predisposed to confirm our biases instead of challenging them
3)Our perceptions are unreliable
4)Our memories are faulty
5) We oversimplify
6)We underrate the effects of chance and coincidence

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Posted: 12 December 2006 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for that reminder, Brennan.  I heard Thomas Kida on POI (At least I think it was POI.  If it wasn’t, well, see Theme 4 above.), looked for the book at the bookstore, and when they didn’t have it I forgot about it.

I don’t set my clock ahead on purpose, but sometimes if it drifts ahead a little, I leave it that way for a while.  You’re right, I think, that it’s very hard to overcome the assumption that a clock is showing the right time.

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Posted: 12 December 2006 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, there can also be a good justification for turning one’s watch five minutes ahead. We know that watches can be erratic, either gaining or losing a few minutes here and there. We know we don’t want to be late, so we set the watch five minutes ahead, which is outside of the expected error range for the watch. So now we know that if the watch reads 5:00, it is at the very latest 5:00.

If you set the watch to the minute, you are always at the mercy of the watch’s natural error ... that is, unless you assiduously check and re-calibrate the watch often enough that it doesn’t matter. One might reasonably prefer just to set the watch ahead and not concern oneself.

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Posted: 13 December 2006 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve found that my digital watch is quite accurate so I don’t need to play those games.  I prefer to know precisely how I’m doing.  My safety margin is set by me, not the watch.  I always try to get to appointments two minutes early, and I’m seldom off by more than a minute.  The worst thing is when all the traffic lights are green and I get there six or seven minutes early.  That really annoys me.  LOL

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Posted: 05 March 2007 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The actual content of this discussion seemed to go on a different track than I expected from the title.

I don’t know how you can make yourself believe anything - belief doesn’t seem to be amenable to choice. For example, if I asked you to believe you were reading these words in Greek, you wouldn’t believe it. If I paid you a thousand dollars to believe I am writing in Greek, you still wouldn’t be able to do it. You might ACT like you believed this writing is Greek, but you would actually believe nothing of the kind.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“Metaphor”]I don’t know how you can make yourself believe anything - belief doesn’t seem to be amenable to choice.

Exactly so!

But you may indirectly be able to make yourself believe something by (voluntarily) undergoing a brain-washing experience of some sort. It’s an odd example but it might well work.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“Metaphor”]I don’t know how you can make yourself believe anything - belief doesn’t seem to be amenable to choice.

Exactly so!

But you may indirectly be able to make yourself believe something by (voluntarily) undergoing a brain-washing experience of some sort. It’s an odd example but it might well work.

I thought about that, but for it to be successful would require so many contingencies….the only thing I can imagine is some sort of sleep-deprivation and repeated exposure to images of the desired belief…even then you almost have to entirely forget the reason you were exposing yourself to brainwashing in the first place.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 04:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Maybe it depends on what you mean by belief, or how absolute belief has to be to be belief. Certainly people can convince themselves to behave in certain way despite perhaps some reservations about the underlying reasoning. Like the old joke goes, “Rationalization is better than sex. Ever try to go a week without a rationalization?” And religion often uses the strategy of attacking doubt by counseling the doubter to behave as if they believe, with the idea that over time the doubts will subside. So maybe believing something without any doubt despite having at one time not believed it (such as “this is written in Greek”) is impossible, or at least extraordinarily difficult. But believing in a more complex concept or idea sufficiently to act on it despite perhaps some uncertainty, and choosing to persist in that mindset despite the uncertainty, is in a sense making oneself believe something. I find much of the ideas of quantum physics so counterintuitive based on everyday experience that I can’t say I believe them to be true in an automatic, unquestioning, visceral sense, but I choose to believe they are true in the intellectual sense based on evidence and a certain amount of faith in the specialists who study the phenomena. So do I believe these things? Do I make myself believe them despite how preposterous they seem in quotidian terms?

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Posted: 06 March 2007 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well, you can believe “what the physicists tell you”, without exactly understanding all the math behind it. You can believe that these phenomena hold at very small scales, etc., without believing that your toaster is likely to disappear.

Further, you can believe the experimental evidence that the physicists adduce to support their odd theories, and understand vaguely how that evidence would support those theories. (E.g., the two-slit experiment, etc.)

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Posted: 06 March 2007 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Well, you can believe “what the physicists tell you”, without exactly understanding all the math behind it. You can believe that these phenomena hold at very small scales, etc., without believing that your toaster is likely to disappear.

Further, you can believe the experimental evidence that the physicists adduce to support their odd theories, and understand vaguely how that evidence would support those theories. (E.g., the two-slit experiment, etc.)

The two-slit experiment seems almost indistinguishable from magic, but I believe it because experiments have verified it. Of course, ‘collapsing the wave function’ might be hard to disagree with, since my understanding of it is vanishingly small.

Though I’m not really sure I believe that Schroedinger’s cat is both dead and alive. And it is strange to think that it is theoretically possible (though the universe is not old enough for the probability to be significantly different from zero) that an apple could materialise on my laptop out of thin air.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Of course, the quantum physics point was just an example. The larger issue is do we have any deliberate, conscious control over our own beliefs? Thepoint i was making is that it may depend on how you define belief. I do think we selectively emphasize some information and ignore other informatgion in a pattern that supports our own beliefs, and I think to some extent we choose to do so, thus deliberately at least reinforcing those beliefs. If we decide we don’t want to believe something because it is harmful to us, or we do want to believe something because of social pressures to do something, it seems possible to me that we could take actions perhaps less extreme than submitting to a formal brainwashing protocol that might ultimately influence what we believe. So in this sense, we can affect our own beliefs and desires. Not necessarily by an act of will changing them in an instant, but by adopting strategies of behavior and though that create new habits and patterns of perception in our own minds. Is this what you mean, Metaphor, by choosing what to believe?
And how much certainty does a belief require to be a belief? That might affect our decision as to whether we can change our own beliefs.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]Of course, the quantum physics point was just an example. The larger issue is do we have any deliberate, conscious control over our own beliefs? Thepoint i was making is that it may depend on how you define belief. I do think we selectively emphasize some information and ignore other informatgion in a pattern that supports our own beliefs, and I think to some extent we choose to do so, thus deliberately at least reinforcing those beliefs. If we decide we don’t want to believe something because it is harmful to us, or we do want to believe something because of social pressures to do something, it seems possible to me that we could take actions perhaps less extreme than submitting to a formal brainwashing protocol that might ultimately influence what we believe. So in this sense, we can affect our own beliefs and desires. Not necessarily by an act of will changing them in an instant, but by adopting strategies of behavior and though that create new habits and patterns of perception in our own minds. Is this what you mean, Metaphor, by choosing what to believe?
And how much certainty does a belief require to be a belief? That might affect our decision as to whether we can change our own beliefs.

We could, I suppose, consciously or not, attend to certain evidence, forget other evidence, etc. Importantly though, these strategies and behaviours could only work with certain kinds of belief - those that would be amenable to change anyway.

Perhaps it is simply technology that limits us. Human beings can certainly be made to feel things, like pleasure and pain, against their will. In the future, there may a kind of surgery on the brain that can allow you to programme any belief you want in there.

However, although a belief might be amenable to change through deliberate action, since I don’t believe in free will, I don’t think we can *choose* to change our beliefs. My beliefs about belief and my desire to change a belief is something I have no control over!

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Posted: 06 March 2007 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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since I don’t believe in free will, I don’t think we can *choose* to change our beliefs. My beliefs about belief and my desire to change a belief is something I have no control over!

After several exhausting weeks of following the various free will threads and related reading, I’ve decided to believe ( :wink: ) in a roughly compatibilist version of free will, and I’ve given up debating the subject since those who don’t believe in any sort of free will don’t have any control over their beliefs and so can’t change their minds anyway!  smile

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Posted: 06 March 2007 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]

since I don’t believe in free will, I don’t think we can *choose* to change our beliefs. My beliefs about belief and my desire to change a belief is something I have no control over!

After several exhausting weeks of following the various free will threads and related reading, I’ve decided to believe ( :wink: ) in a roughly compatibilist version of free will, and I’ve given up debating the subject since those who don’t believe in any sort of free will don’t have any control over their beliefs and so can’t change their minds anyway!  smile

I can’t CHOOSE to change my mind but I can certainly change my mind.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I don’t think belief or disbelief in free will has much to do with the question.  We all think our beliefs are all correct.  If we find (and admit) we are wrong in a given case we change our belief. 

We don’t change unless there’s an outside pressure like observation of a phenomenon or acceptance of data at variance from our present belief, or a challenge that causes us to examine a long-held belief in the light of data we had not considered.

When I was much younger I had accepted the general family and societal notion that women, though lovely, were intellectually inferior.  An aggressive woman’s liberationist annoyed me so I decided to think through a logical argument to show she was wrong.  The more I analyzed this, the angrier I got at myself for having accepted erroneous ideas from my parents, family and society.  I immediately changed my beliefs and now I’m back to being perfect.  :D

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