THE VOCABULARY OF A NEW WAY OF THINKING
Words and concepts that will facilitate your application of the skills provided in this Guide are first listed and thereafter defined. They provide a set of common “rules” which make your participation more satisfying. Each term is also explained as it is introduced in the Guide. A brief review of the glossary can provide an introduction and/or summary of the ideas that will enrich your thinking.
ANWOT - a newer way of thinking
the ingredients to change: faith that “I can,” work, patience, direction, risk-taking
components of the ANWOT curriculum for self-mastery
1. the ingredients
2. the language of self-mastery
3. the mental response control panel (MRCP)
4. strens (wisdom, mental strengths)
basic language changes leading to ANWOT
1. “Yes, I think I can. I will!” Faith in one’s capacity to make a difference.
2. dependency words → personal responsibility words
they (he, she, it) make(s) me [an “other” + a prescriptive word] → I allow ….
3. prescriptive words → descriptive words
should, have to, must → could, prefer, I am wise when
4. dichotomous (digital) words → analog (continuous) words
either…or → both…and; us or them → us and them; good or bad → good and bad
5. blaming mental response pattern (MRP) → problem-solving MRP
“shoulding” on another or one’s self → the “magical” problem-solving MRP
6. “anger” → “energy”
7. emergency → urgent + assign high, medium, or low priority
the mental response control panel (MRCP), the mind’s eight (8) response pattern “choices”
4. problem-solving: the “magical” sentence
the “reasonable best” measure of self-worth
6. helplessness/hopelessness, the H/H response
7. the “what if” worry response
8. the mind/body response
MDR: the minimum daily requirement of endorsements to thrive
treat others as I would have them treat me
love myself so that I may more ably love others
the wise person stren
the serenity stren
becoming one’s own person (BOOP)
Board of Directors
C.E.O.: Chief Executive Officer
phase one [… thinking, development, master, etc.]
phase two [… thinking, development, master, etc.]
phase three [… thinking, development, master, etc.]
the languages of our thought processes
The first language of our nature, the language of our innate controllers (IL)
The second language of our nurture, the language of our external controllers (EL)
The third language of our reflective self, the freedom language of self-mastery (SL)
trigger word, word-switch
second signaling system
“opposite” words of the newer language
[you may add to these sample words]
imitation and role modeling
stren: a model of a healthy attitude, feeling, behavior, coping skill, bit of wisdom, experience or tool, and/or concept that I can use to enrich my life’s experience. “Stren” is a word invented by a group of mental health professionals after hearing the famous anthropologist, Margaret Mead, state that our language is so constructed as to foster negative thinking and action. Accepting the wisdom of Dr. Mead’s observation, “stren” was invented to permit us to direct our attention to the more positive aspects of our lives. Our well-being grows as we expand our collection of strens. The strens in this Guide are step-by-step directions to build skills in thinking, to take greater control of our self, and to grow our power to become what we are capable of becoming.
ANWOT - a newer way of thinking: the manner of thinking that frees our thinking from dominance by our genes and nurturers and provides originality, initiation, and self-mastery. Our thinking is fostered by our use of words and symbols. Words, like light switches, become “wired” in specific patterns that affect our thinking. The wiring connections we acquire in our early years have developed primarily to serve our innate and outside controllers, i.e. the self-preservation instincts we inherit and the commands of the environment to which we have been fated. The development of mature thinking, capable of wisely controlling one’s own life, what some have called “becoming one’s own person,” requires newer language. The words of the self-mastery language are wired to different pathways than the words of our first languages. For example, this Guide will distinguish “descriptive” words from “prescriptive” words. Descriptive words conduct our thinking to problem-solving action whereas prescriptive words lead to punishment, guilt, and outcomes more characteristic of the earlier “bosses” of our life. A critical portion of this Guide is the introduction of words and concepts that foster self-mastery.
the ingredients to change: Like the flour, water, yeast, and salt needed to make bread, there are five ingredients required to develop self-mastery. What you don’t possess is readily available to you.
faith: The belief that we can make a difference. Without some faith, we won’t try. We
generate energy for our first steps when we say, “Yes, I think I can. I will!”
work: Practice is required to develop skill. Practice and work can be very satisfying.
patience: The benefits of most worthwhile skills often are not realized immediately.
direction: We have the advantage of benefiting by “standing on the shoulders of those giants who have preceded us.” Wisdom is abundantly available.
risk-taking: Acquiring a new beneficial manner of thinking usually means the letting go, even
“murder,” of some other manners of thinking that we have clung to and likely have been of service to us.
The Guide suggests how to acquire any of the ingredients you may be lacking. Recognize that wealth, unusual intelligence, “connections,” good health, and magic are not needed.
the five components of the ANWOT curriculum: the building blocks to attain self-mastery:
1. the ingredients: the raw material to build new skills (see above and later)
2. seven easy language modifications: words and symbols that update our manner of thinking
3. the mental response control panel: the eight “switches” by which we may initiate and/or modify our actions
4. strens: the collection of wisdom that adds strength to managing life’s challenges
5. our value system: the assumptions and beliefs that influence our choices
basic language changes leading to ANWOT. Seven easy modifications to our manner of
thinking will dramatically grows self-mastery.
- “Yes, I think I can. I will!” Faith in our capacity to make a difference is the spark that
energizes our will power to make all the rest possible.
- dependency words → personal responsibility words: they (he, she, it) make(s) me [an “other” + a prescriptive word] → I allow ….
Throughout our years of physical and mental immaturity, our survival is controlled by others. This dependency manner of thinking becomes habitually established within our native language. As we mature, we acquire the ability to acquire personal direction of our thinking. Rebellion against authority is usually the first step in realizing we have our own power. We may assume personal responsibility and grow our self-mastery.
- prescriptive words → descriptive words
should, have to, must → could, prefer, I am wise when
Words and symbols that command are “prescriptive.” They convey issues as the “right” or “good” way while alternatives are the “wrong” or “bad” way. The prescribed action is demanded or prohibited. Such words as “should”, “have to”, “must”, “don’t”, and “can’t” not only demand but also convey that there is likely some form of punishment for failure to comply. Their presence alerts us that we are likely engaging in the blaming mental response pattern. Prescriptive words dominate the language we acquire from the external controllers of our life - parents, authority figures, law, one’s religion [the ten “commandments”], our culture, and so on. Though appropriate when we are mentally and physically undeveloped, to continue such dependency thinking when we attain maturity is the equivalent of “mental slavery.” Note: When preceded by a personal responsibility word(s), prescriptive words are appropriate. “If I choose to save money, I must cut down my spending.”
Words and symbols that suggest choice are “descriptive.” They present the world as permitting selection among alternatives, what we highly regard as freedom. Descriptive words are a basis for rational thinking and problem-solving. Such words encourage judgment and the valuing of actions which usually have both positive and negative components. [“If I save my money it will collect interest and provide security; if I spend it, I enjoy what I buy now. I prefer ......”] Such words as “could,” “would like,” “prefer,” “choose,” “I am wise when …,” foster thinking to alternative conclusions, to mentally “rehearse” possible outcomes and make wiser choices. Science is largely an outcome of application of the descriptive language. Descriptive words are mainstays of the freedom language, the basis of getting “unstuck” from the demands of our innate and external bosses. They enable us to develop and take responsibility for our self, to become our own best friend, and to grow our capacity for loving ... all of which contribute to our feeling good and “doing good.”
- dichotomous (digital) words → analog (continuous) words
either…or → both…and; us or them → us and them; good or bad → good and bad
Words that limit our thinking to two dichotomous choices are “digital.” Examples are “either [a] or [b],” black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. The dichotomous thinking that characterizes our early manner of thinking is a major cause of prejudice and hatred. Words that permit thinking along a continuous unbroken scale are “analog.” “Both...and” replaces “either… or” to permit shades of grey. The pluses and minuses, the good and bad of multiple alternatives are considered. This is readily understood when we think of the movement of a digital and analog watch. The hands in a digital watch “jumps” from one second to the next. It is either on “1” or “2” or “3” etc. The hands of the old fashioned analog watch moves around the circle at a continuous rate. Our earliest language is filled with digital words. “If he gets that candy I won’t have any.” ANWOT conveys we can share and both enjoy some candy and each other. A too common occurrence is “He loves someone else; therefore he can’t love me; poor me.” ANWOT conveys we don’t have a fixed amount of love. We can create more and have plenty to share.
- blaming mental response pattern (MRP) → problem-solving MRP
“shoulding” on another or one’s self → the “magical” problem-solving MRP
Blaming is the most primitive common MRP. It is easiest to recognize and thereafter substitute the constructive problem-solving MRP.
- “anger” → “energy”
anger is a word that triggers blaming and harmful aggression; energy is a neutral word that is prone to trigger a problem-solving MRP
- “emergency” → “urgent” + assign high, medium, or low priority
Our biologic emergency response system is the source of much regretful behavior. Learn to substitute “urgent” and assign an appropriate priority. True emergencies are rare.
the mental response control panel, MRCP: I have arbitrarily categorized the choices the mind has available to do its work into eight (8) response patterns. Once properly labeled and recognized, with some attention, they are readily manipulated. Since most of these mental response patterns are nonproductive or harmful, the ability to wisely manage them immensely improves our skill at self-mastery. This labeling of the eight mental response patterns (MRP) will work for you with uncanny effectiveness. The following MRP choices are available to us:
There are two blaming mental response patterns.
- blaming-out: mentally attacking an “other”
- blaming-in: mentally attacking one’s self
Blaming is the usual mode of expression of our first languages. “Someone or something did what they shouldn’t have done,” or “didn’t do what they should have done,” and the someone deserves punishment. When we blame someone or something else, our frustration and anger are there directed, blaming-out. A common form of persistent “blaming” is holding-on to resentments. Part of our early learning process results in turning the blame on ourselves, blaming-in, resulting in guilt, shame, demeaning words, attacking ourselves, and in the extreme, suicide. I believe the blaming response pattern is the most common, one of the easiest to recognize, and it is very amenable to self-control. If you were only to develop skill in managing blaming-out and blaming- in, you will derive great benefit from this Guide.
“shoulding”: Blaming requires prescriptive words (described previously). One insightful therapist (Albert Ellis) noted the frequent persistent tendency of people to demean themselves and others using the”should” words common in the language of our external controllers. To “should” on your self or to “should” on others is usually unproductive. “Shoulding” is an apt label to help recognize when we are engaging in such activity.
secondary blaming: This is a special and common variation of the blaming-in MRP. Most persons soon learn to recognize their blaming response and intercede with considerable benefit. But because we are creatures of habit, and blaming is a pattern habitually, virtually automatically practiced over many years, the old pattern persists. It returns. We recognize we are again engaging in the “shoulding” pattern. Since now we recognize blaming is nonproductive, we tend to attack ourselves, “I’m so stupid, I should have learned that by now; I shouldn’t be putting myself down.” Secondary blaming is putting our self down for putting our self down. Yet, the act of recognizing that we are putting ourself down can be one of our most productive acts. We can make recognizing secondary blaming a productive learning experience by enthusiastically endorsing our self for recognizing and ceasing the secondary blaming.
- avoidance: substituting various mental for physical means of “running”
Whereas blaming is the preferred current manner of expressing the more primitive “fight” response pattern, we express the “flight” pattern we inherit as procrastination, changing jobs, marriages, and other forms of symbolic “running.” We avoid by abuse of substances, apathy, dropping out, and related methods. Physically running is rarely effective in our contemporary world. Mental running is more common.
- problem-solving: We ask our self, “What is most likely to get what I want, for me and you, for now and in the future.”
This “magical” sentence is the problem-solving mental pattern that is most productive and likely to lead us to what we want and avoid what we don’t want. The focus is on the problem, on productive action, not the “bad” person or thing. There is no emphasis on blaming and finding a scapegoat. Energy is not wasted on resentment, avoidance, and other non-productive actions. While not magic, the results will often seem “magical.” The problem-solving sentence fosters using our best to do our best! While many challenges of living do not have adequate solutions, the magical sentence enables us to consistently do our “reasonable best.” Doing our reasonable best is a basis for endorsing ourselves and sustaining our own peace of mind.
- endorsement: maintaining an active mental cheering section
Learning to provide our minimum daily requirement (MDR) of self-endorsement is an important step to free our self from dependence on others. Endorsement is a gift of love. By filling our own cup, we then can create much love to spill over to others. Strens in self-endorsement are concentrated at the beginning of this guide because it is the pre-required skill to mental freedom.
secondary endorsement: This is a variation of self-endorsement. Being our own best friend and developing the skill of self-endorsement is one of the most productive acts we can engage in. To recognize when we are being a good friend to our self is reason to endorse our self for endorsing our self. Why settle for the minimum daily requirement of our emotional needs when we can really rack up additional points?
the “reasonable best” measure of self-worth: Many of life’s challenges are beyond our control. We face mortality, diseases we don’t understand, unfairness, poverty, imperfection in our body, and a multitude of stressing issues. They may occur even if we concentrate all of our energies to conquer the problem. A more appropriate basis for self-endorsement is applying a reasonable amount of energy towards the issue and giving ourselves a pat on the back for doing our reasonable best. There is so much we have to do that it is inappropriate to expend our energy to the neglect of other important issues. We are always in a position to do our reasonable best and endorse our self for doing so. “What is the least reasonable amount of my resources I would be wise to devote to this situation”? Too often we think we are unworthy because we “should have” directed more of our energy to a task. “I should have done more.” “Absolute” investment of energy is the downfall of the perfectionist. Such individuals are, in my experience, the most miserable of people, even though their accomplishments may be worthy of adulation. We have no choice but to experience the hurt of the negative events of our life; however, we need not act as our own worst enemy by making unreasonable demands on ourselves. And when we discover we indeed did not do our reasonable best, we act wisely by endorsing ourselves for recognizing our shortcoming and then applying the problem-solving response.
the serenity stren: Alcoholics Anonymous has popularized what they identify as “The Serenity Prayer.” It is a very important bit of “reasonable best” wisdom to keep in mind (see universal values).
- helplessness/hopelessness, the H/H MRP: the give-up response
When our attempts to attain some goal are frustrated, we usually continue to try. “Perhaps the next attempt will succeed.” A common mental response pattern with repeated unsuccessful attempts is to give up. “What’s the use,” “Why bother,” “To hell with it!” We lose faith in our self. We shut down our energy factory! We give up other interests and apathy sets in. For this reason, it is usually the most devastating of the eight mental response choices available to us. In today’s world, we realize physically running elsewhere is ineffective. Today’s counterparts of running are often H/H expressions, viz. withdrawal, lack of energy, procrastination, substance abuse, depression, malingering, engaging in empty, meaningless pastimes, and so on. You will find it useful to recognize this H/H pattern.
- the “what if” worry response: wasting energy by excessive attention on negative
alternatives while neglecting the positive and most likely outcomes.
We create nonproductive anxiety and tension by exaggerating and focusing on the unlikely negative outcome of events. Most characteristically we say “what if …” and imagine the worst. The result is anxiety attacks, wasted energy, physical symptoms such as muscle pain, increased heart rate, and/or a feeling of impending doom. The worry response is usually associated with phobias. Learning to substitute “most likely” for “what if” and picturing the more likely outcome is a start to “murdering” this unhealthy mental response pattern. Relaxation training, desensitization, and other steps are helpful. Substitute healthy “concern” for “worry.” Concern is directing an appropriate amount of energy to do our reasonable best.
- mind/body response: Our mental patterns of responding to stress are intimately linked to our physical response system. Each influences the other.
The manner we handle stress may lead to problem-solving but so often our inadequate mental management results in harmful physical changes - production of chemicals such as adrenalin and steroids, increase in heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, bowel irregularity, sexual malfunction, and a variety of physical problems which each of us have experienced.
Note: These 8 mental response patterns are not necessarily “either…or.” They are intertwined, one often leading to another. These combinations result in an infinite variety of patterns, a characteristic personality print, akin to a fingerprint. We do well to emphasize problem-solving and self-endorsement while we attack our negative mental responses, not ourselves!
MDR, the minimum daily requirements of endorsements to thrive: You are already familiar with this term as applied to our physical needs. “The minimum daily requirement of vitamin x is 4 milligrams.” Often we see “We believe the minimum daily requirement to be …”, that is, the exact amount is not known. Similarly, we can apply this term to the basic needs to maintain our emotional health. We need emotional endorsements!!! This guide explains how to insure that we receive our MDR.
love: the creation of energy using our highest mental function (our “freedom organ”, the cortical portion of our brain) directed for the well-being of some other and/or one’s self. The generation of love powerfully influences our physical well-being.
sex: the natural urge for procreation and physical gratification by stimulation of receptor cells in the genitals and elsewhere: Sex is strongly influenced by our genetic inheritance and the older more primitive area of our brain. Note that the major sexual organs, the penis and clitoris, are in-born “receiving stations;” love is more so something we “send,” a creation of our choosing from our highest mental function. Sex and love may be quite distinct but are most satisfying when combined.
infatuation: the illusion of love generated largely by powerful biological urges
religion: the assumptions about the world, based largely on faith, that influence our thinking, feelings, and actions. Science and our limited knowledge of Truth is not sufficient to make decisions of values, aesthetics, justice, and most choices available to us. I consider every person is religious in that we each primarily act on our unique set of faith-based beliefs. Our formal religions agree more so than disagree on fundamental values. Most persons seem to follow their personal religion more than adhering to the universal values of the formal religion they profess, values that would promote unity more so than the intolerance we more commonly observe.
wisdom: understanding what is true, right, or lasting; common sense, good judgment
[synonym = awareness or understanding gained through experience or study]
universal wisdom/values for a satisfying life experience:
Treat others as I would have them treat me. This is one of the most agreed upon
“standards” of wholesome behavior.
Love myself so that I may more ably love others. With maturity, we may acquire the skill of filling
our own cup with love and making what overflows available to give to others, without strings.
the wise person stren (what I call the stren stren or “strength” stren):
To make yourself happy, direct your attention to what you have accomplished, what you have
now, and what you might yet attain in the future.
To make yourself miserable, dwell on what you have lost, what you don’t have now, or that
which you may never have in the future.
the serenity stren: a standard of Alcoholics Anonymous, slightly modified;
I will acquire the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I can’t change, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
What universal wisdom(s) would you add?
becoming ones own person (BOOP): Studies on adult development suggest our thinking, feelings, and actions are dominated by the perspectives of our early masters, i.e. our genes and nurturers. Just as we humans require many years to reach physical maturity, so does our brain. The unique degree to which we are capable of reflecting on ourselves, i.e., being aware of our consciousness and directing it, requires the maturation of the brain. The studies of this process suggest that the acquisition of a “self” that goes beyond the early teachings, that can wisely challenge them and attain freedom to make independent choices, does not occur until our late 20's or early 30's. Indeed, in many, there is never a substantial acquisition of this skill of self-mastery. One goal of this Guide is that you BOOP.
reflective self: that portion of our sophisticated mental activity that is conscious of our conscious awareness, that may look upon our thoughts and thinking. The reflective self is the “me” that provides us identity and frees us to become an autonomous individual. It may develop the power to manipulate, modify, and innovate our activity. The reflective self is “born” many years after our physical birth, not until the brain is sufficiently matured to lay down the wiring for a newer way of thinking and is equipped with language and knowledge.
self: shorthand for the “reflective self.” The “me” part of our higher mental activity that is able to reflect on itself, is relatively free of the demands of the first controllers of our life, has acquired the skill to wisely manage our thoughts, and innovate problem-solving action. Self in italics is not to be confused with “our self” that is to be understood in the more traditional manner to represent all that we are physically and mentally.
self-mastery: the process of becoming the chief executive officer of our life, taking into consideration the conflicting interests and demands we experience and providing wise direction to attain what we are capable of attaining.
Board of Directors: the “Capitol” or governing functioning of our thinking. Representatives of our nature, nurturers, and our self, through various agents, debate issues and vote on actions to be taken. The Board changes over time; for example, there are significant changes at puberty. With maturity, we may powerfully modify its composition and/or the authority of its members. The power of fate, circumstance, our parents and other authority will diminish as we add agents representing our self.
C.E.O.: Chief Executive Officer, the “director” or “boss” overseeing our thinking, feelings, and actions. We may have a number of executive directors but the “chief” is the senior officer. As in any complex organization, there is too much going on for the C.E.O. to be directly involved in each activity; much needs to be delegated. Think of the “section chief” members of our mental Board of Directors as representatives of nature, nurture, and/or our self. The C.E.O. of our Board may change according to stage and age of our development and the composition of the Board. Each would-be-director can be expected to govern according to their unique perspective. [Can you identify any of the specific “sub-boss” agents of nature, nurture, and your self that sit at your Board of Directors? i.e. parents, role models, situations, demands of specific organs, principles that would direct your thinking, feelings, and actions?]
master (also “director” or “boss”): a major energy source within us that directs our thoughts, feelings and actions. We are wise to recognize the three masters that co-exist within us: our nature, our nurture(rs) and our self.
1. your nature: what you inherit: the wisdom of millions of years of genetic development, a chief advocate of self-preservation, fight or flight behavior, and self-gratification. A basic principle is “if it brings pleasure and/or avoids pain, do it.” The favorite word of your nature is “Yes!” Genes and DNA are the primary means we inherit our nature.
2. your nurture: what you acquire: the standards you have acquired from your parents, your culture and environment. Of necessity, much of your nurture takes the form of prescriptions, what “you should do” or “shouldn’t do.” The favorite word of your nurture, so common in your early years is “No!”
The directions of your nurture are commonly in opposition to the directions of your nurturers.
3. your self: what you make of yourself. Self is described above.
our three controllers and examples of their influence:
- Master nature, what we inherit: body size, appearance, color, and function; sexual gender: fight/flight, instinct and reflexes; intelligence; dependence. What else would you add?
- Master nurture, what we are taught: language and symbols1, religion, assumptions about how the world operates, habit, guilt, resentment, how to think, good/bad, right/wrong, me/not me, us/them, win/lose, trust (faith, belief, and dependence), suspicion, identity (labels that describe and convey meaning and emotion to our self). What else would you add?
- Self-mastery, what is ours to acquire and/or create: mental freedom, thought control, wisdom, becoming director and producer of our life’s experience, originality, creativity, self-initiation; the degree we own our self, love. What else would you add?
Each of these three masters rules its own domain, has a specific agenda and advocates its own interests. They are sometimes competitive, sometimes cooperative. They express themselves in multiple areas or “departments” of our life. This Guide will sometimes refer to the agents that advocate for these masters: instinct, habit, and reason expressed in urges, reflexes, electrical and chemical changes, feelings, symbols, words, thoughts, thinking, and the like.
director: a policy-maker, a contributor to the “mission” or purpose of one’s activity, as seen in the Board of Directors of a corporation. Members of the Board of Directors commonly, though not necessarily, also own shares of the corporation. The perspective and policy advocated by each of your three masters with respect to your diet, sexual gratification, and your appearance may stir some heated discussion at your Board meeting.
boss: an order-giver, a would be controller of your thinking, feeling, and/or actions. We have many would-be bosses: the dictates of our biology, parents, community, and on and on.
endogenous boss: the activation or alteration of an event where direction is most characteristic of our inherited tendencies and biologic needs, our nature.
exogenous boss: the activation or alteration of an event where direction is most characteristic of our acquired tendencies, our nurture.
mentogenous boss: the activation or alteration of an event whose direction originates from the mature problem-solving thinking portion of our mind, i.e. self-mastery
controller: another term for someone/something that acts to direct or “boss” your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
phase: a manner, attitude, or pattern of behavior characteristic of, or related to, a specific stage of development
phase one: related to the inherited urgings and directions provided by our genes; the domain of “Master Nature”
phase two: related to the urgings and directions acquired after birth as prescribed by our nurturers and environment; the domain of “Master Nurture”
phase three: related to the problem-solving and directions we our self initiate taking into consideration the urgings of our phase one and phase two masters; the domain of “Self-mastery”
[Note: “phase” may be used as an adjective to denote the source of some particular characteristic, viz. “phase one
thinking,” “phase two director,” “phase two Board member,” “phase three choice,” etc.]
conscience: a name commonly given to the mental “voice” urging us to “do the right thing.” It is usually a “prescription” of our phase two nurturers. Rather than blindly conform to our conscience, we act more wisely when we reflect on its message to ask if it presently represents an appropriate directive. We sometimes (are taught to) “hear” a voice on one shoulder telling us what we “should” do, i.e. our conscience, an angel, a ‘Jiminey Cricket,’ and a voice on the other shoulder, i.e. a devil-like figure, urging us to do the “selfish” thing. “Conscience” is not to be confused with “conscious awareness” or “consciousness” and is not related to “science.”
freedom: without restraint; liberty from slavery, oppression, incarceration; choice; free will; immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. Mental freedom is the emancipation of our mind or mental processing system from the control of our early masters; the ability to create new alternatives and choose a course of action with relative independence from phase one thinking and phase two thinking. “Slavery” is far more than the subjugation of one’s muscles to another’s will; it includes the surrender of our opportunity to become what we are capable of becoming. Mental freedom is the goal of BOOPing; “pursuing our own good in our own way” J.S. Mill
slavery: bondage to a master; being subject or addicted to a specific influence
dependence: the state of being determined, influenced, or controlled by something else
independence: self-support, competence; self-governing
the languages of your thought processes: Language is a collection of words and symbols by which we think. Can you imagine what your consciousness would be like if you were never exposed to a language? Commonly we identify languages that are related to specific geography like English, French, and German. If you were born in China, Chinese would likely be your “native” tongue. The symbols and notations of music are more of a universal language designed for a specific function. Perhaps we might consider “baby talk” a special language. In the course of our development, we acquire three languages; you may consider your self to be multi-lingual! Each of these three languages is designed to serve a different master or “controller” of your life’s activity. Each “speaks” in the native tongue of its own master: nature, nurture, or your self.
the first language of your nature, the language of our innate controllers (IL): Your first controller is determined by genes. Its interest is self-preservation and its behavior has been described as “fight” or “flight”. It is a self-centered boss, oriented to the present and can usually be identified because of its “I want what I want when I want it” motto. The words of this early language are usually in the family of “yes”, “do it” words. I call this the innate language (IL) because it is “wired” to serve your inborn needs.
the second language of your nurture, the language of our external controllers (EL): The second would-be boss is the outside demands, coming from our parents, teachers, authority figures, the law, the religion and cultural dictates of our specific environment. The language designed to serve this second master is wired to stimulate responses usually in direct conflict with the wiring of the innate “yes, do it” language. It emphasizes a family of “no” words that prescribe what you should not do and/or must do. I call this second language the external language (EL) because it is designed to serve the outside or environmental forces that make demands upon us. Parents’ most common expression is “NO!”. Variations such as “you can’t,” “don’t,” “you must” are easily identified. These words characteristically are wired to some form of reward or punishment. Physical and/or verbal “putdowns”, withholding of love, approval, privileges, promotions, and restriction of freedom are usually favored more so than “rewards.”
the third language of your reflective self, the freedom language of self-mastery (SL): Freedom is the opportunity to choose among alternatives, to create innovative solutions to life’s challenges, and to determine the goals of our actions. The language that permits mature thinking fosters problem-solving more so than punishment. The family of words is primarily “descriptive” such as “I prefer”, “I am wise when”, “I like”, “I value,” and so on. Descriptive words are wired to seek both short and long-term positive outcomes to our actions. Such words stimulate reflective-thinking and encourage loving actions that promote our own well-being in cooperation with the well-being of others. This is the language that permits us to become our own person, to choose “feeling good” and “doing good”. It is the language needed to manage the innate and external would be “bosses” that will be with us the duration of our life.
This Guide advocates development of a newer way of thinking through the regular application of the freedom language.
mind: the home of our conscious awareness and our reflective or higher self. Mental activity has thus far defied description of its material attributes. The relationship of our mental and spiritual activity to the brain is an ongoing area of interest to both science and religion.
thoughts: the “motion picture” stream of words, symbols, pictures, and experience that fill our conscious awareness; messages that originate from our nature and nurture. Thoughts passively somewhat automatically “pop” into our mind as received from the outside, usually through our five senses, and passively received from within, from our body state. Examples: “hot,” “tastes good,” “danger,” “emergency,” “hungry,” “bladder full – pee.”
thinking: the action portion of our mental activity that represents our higher self. It is capable of manipulating thoughts, creating new solutions and providing direction to our self. Thinking serves three masters, initially the commands we inherit through our genes, thereafter those we acquire from our nurturers, and the modifications we initiate as we acquire self-mastery.
reflective-thinking: the special mental processing whereby we reflect on our thoughts and thinking; we are conscious of our consciousness (self-consciousness). Reflectiv- thinking empowers what I have described as self. It conveys independence through abstract reason. Our complex brain and use of symbols are our source of mental freedom, originality, and creativity.
wiring patterns: Words and symbols foster thinking because they call forth specific images; they are “handles” or “switches” that result in specific activity in our brain. I call the connections that lead from a word or symbol to the activation of a pattern in the brain our “wiring.”
Different words stimulate different patterns or images. This is because there is a specific “wiring” pattern which the word “triggers.” For example, what response do the following words call forth: fire! Mother, cancer, money, Attention! You can’t! free, fefm, satz. Can you identify specific words, symbols, or ideas that stir in you specific emotional responses? enthusiasm? tears? and so on? You see, words may trigger specific electrical and chemical responses that are characteristic to each person, depending on their innate and acquired “wiring.” I have found a useful illustration which I hope serves to “wire” an understanding in your mind. Imagine the circuit breaker or light switches in your house. Your entranceway has three switches. They look and in fact are identical. However, one switch turns the outside light on. The second activates one or more lights in the kitchen. The third controls the lights in the hall. Even though you don’t see the wiring behind the wall and may not understand how or why it does what it does, you know that the simple act of flipping the switch brings about your preferred outcome. One circuit breaker switch may activate multiple lights and appliances in the kitchen but has no effect on the wall plugs in the living room and dining room. Likewise the family of words that is associated with the demands of each of your controllers, your genes and nurturers, is wired to process “word switches” differently than the family of words dedicated to self-mastery. This Guide identifies the two early controllers of your actions, your genes and nurturers, and describes the language by which each expresses itself. Further, the Guide promotes the development of the third controller of your thinking, feelings, and behavior, i.e., self-mastery. Some modification of existing words and introduction of new words are required to grow your skills of self-mastery. The family of words in the language of self-mastery is presented in the Guide. Whether or not you understand and/or agree with the explanations here offered about “wiring,” your use of the “freedom language” will work. I believe an understanding of this “wiring” concept will enrich your progress and stimulate new exciting insights.
I wish to share one further thought about the “wiring” of our language. Our tendency is to identify “language” as distinct because of its geography; “English and German are different.” Although a word may be different in each language but express a corresponding meaning, it will lead to an identical response. The word differs but the meaning follows a “final common pathway.” For example, the word fire in the native tongue of the English, German, French, and Chinese person may follow similar wiring pathways even though the actual spelling and sound of the “trigger” words are different for each individual. On the other hand, I have described how the wiring and therefore the processing and outcome of words we take as similar may indeed serve different masters and lead to different outcomes. For example, depending on one’s mental wiring, the thought of eating cow or pig may elicit very different responses. We each have three languages spoken in our conscious awareness: the first serves our inborn genetic strivings, the second expresses the demands of our external bosses (nurturers/culture/religion), and the third contains the modifications and “word-switches” our self originates. We would be wise to recognize the multilingual nature of our thinking. Would you imagine that we could color code words as the electrician uses color wiring to distinguish the action of one wire from another?
operating system(s): the means by which our mind processes information to an action outcome. This Guide is mostly composed to provide “practical” direction to feeling good and doing good.
You will benefit whether or not you recognize how and why taking the steps described work. However, the “picture” of how and why our self works through its own operating system may stimulate creative thinking. To the degree the “theory” strens are accurate and you understand them, you will strengthen your capacity to open new doors to get where you’d like to go.
hardware: the physical equipment used to get things done. I consider a computer and our brain examples of
software: the program(s) designed by their creator to process data an action outcome. Our computer may have
various software programs emphasizing different perspectives: word processing, numbers crunching, photo
management, musical notation, and so on. Our brain contains multiple programs such as those provided by nature,
our nurturers, and our self, each emphasizing its own perspective.
trigger word, word-switch: Words and symbols may be programmed to trigger a specific response in the manner a light switch may be wired to turn on a specific light or set of lights. The programmed response may be both physical and mental, altering our chemistry, reactivity, thoughts, thinking, emotions and the like. Consider how the same symbol, such as a cross, a crescent, and/or a six-pointed star may elicit different responses depending on one’s upbringing.
second signaling system: We recognize physical stimulation, such as eating, activates pathways that call forth digestive juices. The thought of a steak or fresh lemon juice on our tongue, i.e., a mental act, may “signal” pathways that duplicate the effect of physical stimulation. I have found this “second signaling system” term useful in trying to understand the power of our mental acts to influence what we experience physically. The manner physical stimulation creates mental activity, and mental activity initiates physical activity is the yet unsolved mystery of the mind/body connection. The Guide emphasizes the importance of educating our second signaling system in the skills of self-mastery.
“opposite” words of the newer way of thinking ANWOT: Our thinking is imprisoned by words that permit only a negative direction in our thinking. New words to unlock our thinking may seem strange initially. However, when we don’t have simple words to identify important positive concepts, we would be wise to add them to our common usage. They serve a practical beneficial purpose. Here are some examples:
optimizing: We all seem to know and use the word “worry.” Worry is anticipating the negative outcomes of a situation. Often worry includes the very worst and most unlikely outcome of a situation. “When I fly, what if ....” Can you think of a single word in our language that calls to mind anticipating the most positive outcomes of a situation? The closest I’ve come is “optimizing.” How often have you heard, “I spent the weekend optimizing”?
pullup: We recognize a putdown as a derogative statement about another or the common act of blaming ourselves. To enthusiastically endorse someone, or oneself, would reasonably be called a “pullup”, the opposite of a putdown.
setforward: We experience difficulty which we identify as a “setback”? How commonly do we use the word “setforward”? Perhaps familiarity with the word would stimulate greater attention to the growth experiences we have enjoyed.
resentment: This word literally means re-experiencing sentiment or feelings. “Re-sentiment” is neutral in that it favors neither positive nor negative feelings. Yet, in common usage it has come to mean re-experiencing or holding on to negative, usually angry, punishing emotions.
What other words in our commonly used language direct our thinking in negative ways that bring us what we don’t want?
conflict resolution: the attempt to restore peace and calm from a struggle
win-win outcome: each party to a conflict benefits from the action taken
win-lose outcome: the winner is benefited; the loser is hurting in some manner
lose-lose outcome: each participant experiences hurt.
aggression: the energy we require to attain our needs. Of interest to this guide is the close interrelated location of sex and aggression in the older more primitive portion of the brain. This makes sense because if an organism was simply interested in procreation but lacked the aggressive energy to satisfy the interest, the species would not survive. Our language and our culture have come to associate “aggression” with destructive action. The newer way of thinking (ANWOT) advocated in this Guide directs thinking to the positive aspects of aggression, i.e., the redirection of energy to constructive ends. We can acquire skill in directing our aggressive energy to “attack” disease, prejudice, terrorism, pollution, and the like. Of greater importance, we can aggressively expand our ability to love, grow wisdom, share, cooperate, negotiate, and energetically improve our well-being.
WMD, WMC: weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass construction
cognitive rehearsal: mentally working through alternatives to deal with an issue before taking action, considering short and long-term outcomes. This is the basis of prevention and therefore a critical skill when we are dealing with issues that may be beyond “cure,” such as WMD. Skill in cognitive rehearsal may be acquired with maturity.
no-trial learning: this term is often the equivalent of cognitive rehearsal but more general in that we may learn by imitation and role-modeling that requires little or no reflective thinking.
imitation and role modeling: much of what we learn while we are growing up, our mental wiring, is attained by blindly copying, mimicking, and practicing patterns others prescribe. We continue this method of learning in maturity.
trial-and-error learning: one of the most common ways we acquire skills is by improving from our mistakes. Though mistakes may be costly, they are often necessary to get the information needed to learn. Walking is an example where we learn from our falls. Recognizing and acknowledging our mistakes is worthy of self-endorsement more so than putdowns because it is one of our most productive means of improvement.
prevention: mental consideration of alternative solutions to an anticipated problem; use of no-trial learning.
cure: dealing with a problem after it’s occurrence; trial-and-error learning
practical: what “works” to attain one’s goals most rapidly and with the minimum expenditure of energy; readily taught/learned by the common person
feeling good: a positive or pleasurable emotional state. Enthusiasm to maintain the experience. It is usually associated with an attitude of gratitude, awareness and appreciation for what we have. Feeling good is not the absence of feeling bad; it is the awareness of the presence of something positively experienced. Peace-of-mind is a positive experience.
doing good: using creative energy and acting in the best interest of ourselves and the larger community of which we are a member. Doing good involves activity that somehow contributes to what is desirable. Each act of “good” adds to the total balance of “goodness” in the world, viz. a good deed, a “mitzvah.”
the “self(freedom)-organ”: We recognize the development of specific organs, such as the kidneys and liver to perform specialized tasks. The cortical area of the human brain is the last and most rapidly evolving organ of homo sapiens. This newest portion of our brain conveys us the ability to engage in advanced abstract reflective thinking. As such, we may think of this newer brain area as our “self-organ” or new “freedom organ”. It is our resource for mental freedom and self-mastery.
1. Consider the variety of responses that may be aroused by a cross, a crescent, or six pointed star, depending on one’s religion and upbringing.
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