Metacognition Versus Public Disenchantment with Science

“I do not like that man: I must get to know him better.”

–Abraham Lincoln

How is it, one wonders, that tens of millions of Americans can believe and echo absurd fantasies, while showing signs of disbelieving in science?

It clearly has something to do with hatred.

For most of my life, I would have associated disbelief in science with throwback cultures, as contrasted with one of the most advanced places on the planet.

To see it happening here is a shock.

Some of it has been accurately explained as confirmation bias, the insular lives many of us live, in which we only read, listen to and watch sources that tell us what we want to believe.

People whose lives have fallen short of aspirations naturally have fear and anger over that. Some of them who are white fall prey to white supremacy thinking because they fear that non-whites are gradually taking away their livelihoods. Many would simply rather believe that, than take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

Thus, racism could start from a shifting of blame – from blaming oneself to blaming others.

How ironic, in that there isn’t any value in playing the blame game in the first place! One shouldn’t have to shunt it outside, a metacognitive mind will see in advance where something leads and can stop the degenerative process far sooner. And reverse degeneration, by adjusting future predispositions consciously. That transmutes blame into better preparation.

Every event is a product of multivariate causes, so the blame has to be allocated, and having done so, one decides how to adjust one’s future action and moves on without the overt act of blame or even the covert clinging inside to the feeling of blame. This becomes clear to a person in a state of metacognition or Observer/Flow states.

One could blame it all on the money system itself, which historically creates a disadvantaged segment who can see the way the advantaged segment lives, producing a potential disequilibrium, which will come to be potentiated in one cranky way or another. And in a way, Marx did that, conceptualizing a radical new system to replace capitalism which was to never work as it was supposed to in the real world. It just made things worse.

Fear of communism and socialism naturally struck hard at American values of rags to riches by hard work, independence and small business, property rights, individualism, liberty, ideologies at the time being peddled via the violence of revolution. When I was growing up the whole environment taught me as an American patriot to loathe those systems.

That still exists today, and that fear instilled in all of us for so many decades is still being used by politicians today, even though our potential enemies abroad are no longer practicing communism except symbolically, everyone is doing capitalism this year.

No reason to make such a big deal about socialism anymore. Authoritarianism is still a valid cause for concern, not to mention the environment, the need for massive new clean energy resources, the mutating virus, mounting levels of violence, inflation, American schism… we have enough prime challenges today and cannot let ourselves be distracted by last century’s woes.

We ourselves are good people. My hunch/hypothesis (estimate of the situation, rather than article of faith) is that all human beings – all beings – are innately good. Hume called this universal instinct “sympatico”. The reason that is my hunch is that, like Will Rogers and similar to Abe Lincoln, I have never met a person I didn’t like, at least sometimes.

Fear causes anger and anger causes the world we now live in.

The digital media and even some traditional media have amplified our fear and our anger. So has the replacement of jingoism for journalism. The decline of journalism is also connected to the rise of digital media through the agency of money: as newspapers were largely replaced, so was a lot of journalism, thank God still not totally extinct and hopeful of a full comeback once we all come to our senses.

What makes me think we can ever come to our senses?

Metacognition.

What is metacognition? The term literally means “Above cognition”.

It’s a term coined by distinguished American developmental psychologist John H. Flavell in his 1976 article “Metacognitive Aspects of Problem Solving” – the same year my manual on how to achieve metacognition and the two states above it, MIND MAGIC came out.

Flavell defined “Metacognition” as “Cognition about cognition, or, more informally, thinking about thinking.” If we pay attention to our own mental/emotional processes (metacognition) we become practiced at it (Observer state) and eventually begin to have experiences of Flow state (what athletes call the Zone) – intuitive effective performance.

It’s my hypothesis that we can as homo sapiens “come to our senses” and overcome the present unstable state of global civilization, by accelerating the widespread education of practices proven to increase metacognition – and two even higher states of consciousness that metacognition is a precursor for, Observer state and Flow state. That automatically includes pragmatically being open to new evidence, and having the skills to weigh evidence logically and dispassionately.

QAnon zombies and extremists of all stripes can be cured by their achieving metacognition and Observer state. People who today believe things for the wrong reasons can untie the knots in their mind by the ability to weigh evidence dispassionately.

Metacognition and Observer state also enable detachment from long-accepted precepts. Metacognition is exactly what is missing from the present culture. It is not being taught in any public schools that I know of.

In order for the science of psychology to have its maximum positive social effect, people must be able to translate and apply findings to their own lives.

Today’s possibly most valuable psychology remains largely focused on the detailed mechanics of how the brain works, without relating such findings to the mind and the experience of the individual (qualia), the fancy name for our subjective inner experiences).

Tying scientific findings to a person’s experience would be valuable because it enables teaching and learning. The individual would have a map for dealing with his/her qualia, able to achieve metacognition/self-observe something by the use of operational methodologies taught in history by sages, and today condensed into my manual.

If science stops translating its findings for greater understanding among the people – which understanding has tangible positive effects – science remains valuable for its own purposes of knowing, but science’s disconnect from most people’s lives leaves a dangerous vacuum which is presently being filled with baseless argumentation of science versus fantasy, to no good end.

Hypothesis: An increase in the public’s ability to maintain a state of metacognition will cause a decrease in anger, hatred, class warfare, depression, mental illness in general, addiction, crime, war, terrorism, partisanship, misinformation, and other negative phenomena.

This is a hypothesis worth testing. My manual is one way to test it on yourself and on your employees. The U.S. Army and Navy have tested it and then requested/received workshops for high-ranking officers, as have some large corporations, and 34 universities. Thousands of readers of MIND MAGIC have written positively about its effects.

In the next post I’ll give you a pre-experience of what the manual teaches. That will be a special edition on Monday.

Best to all,

Bill

 

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