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Brain tricks…

Not to have to think about what’s going on… Even if you feel that something is not right.
The convenience of taking the short routes because details are confusing.
Admitting to addiction, because the alternative is much more tiring.
Labeling your surrounding world, so that everything remains clear.

We all know brain tricks.
Buddha built a complete philosophy of life based on that, saying that everything is actually a thought, and that this thought is fed by our perceptions and prejudices. To these we are so attached, that we suffer if we have to distance ourselves from it. And actually that is what we should do, be more objective, because both our observations and our arguments are often very deceptive. Our brain, where all this takes place, surely loves to fool us.

Actually, we have a terribly lazy brain.

Our brains and the rest of the nervous system try to get through life with as little energy as possible. Why? Perhaps because this is biologically determined: brains prepare themselves for moments of danger. Then they boost performance, and need a lot of energy to make sure that the organism of which they are a part also survives. Partly reflexes, partly purely creative thinking. The rest of the time they relax and make life easier, as long as the consequences of that behavior are acceptable.

New things can be challenging, but also threatening.
Therefore it’s useful to first see if you had similar experiences in the past. Newness then becomes familiar terrain.
You can also just ignore it if that is more convenient. Or explain things very differently from what is really going on.
That is your comfort zone. Pretend you have everything under control, while avoiding change.

Fortunately, you are not the only person who has this blind spot.
Just like you there are whole tribes that show such behavior. And so it seems OK. Because what others do, isn’t that legitimate for you also? It does, however, make you belong to the flock of uninterested sheep, who let themselves be guided, shaved, milked and slaughtered. Because around us there are individuals who show essentially different behavior. In the best case you encounter a shepherd. We all hope for that, because a shepherd protects you and leads you through the difficulties. Christianity is based on that. Unfortunately, you will also encounter traders and butchers, textile manufacturers and hungry wolves. And also the shepherd must make a living somehow…

Letting yourself be influenced by temptation is also something unique.
The power of the written word (“it is there, right? “), the authority (“he says it, so…“), the example (“they do it too, so I join in! “) all are reasons to leave out our critical thinking. In addition to these 3 principles, Robert Cialdini showed some other things: scarcity (” the stock is almost up, so get it quickly! “), more of the same (” this is part of that, and therefore it’s good “), reciprocity (“They also did something for me“), community spirit (“in our club that’s the way it should be“), sympathy (“such nice staff…“).
Remember that there are wolves who misuse this system, even though Cialdini says that such behavior is ultimately counterproductive!

We all regularly make thinking mistakes due to what is called cognitive prejudices. There are a lot of that kind of “biases”, and a nice movie about this can be found below. If you regularly dare to critically look in the mirror, you will discover more and more brain tricks that seem to make your life easier, but which (afterwards) often also bring you into undesirable situations.