A Practical Persons Guide to Feeling Good and Doing Good
through A Newer Way of Thinking (ANWOT)
You are invited to join me in developing a newer way of thinking. This essay is to entice your participation. If your early education in feeling good and doing good was lacking, or even worse, it was harmful, you may make this Guide your life’s most important read. If you are among those fortunate enough to have positive nurturers, please contribute to the collection of mental skills contained herein. However, all will find something of value in this collection of wisdom to strengthen their manner of thinking
Our brightest mind has not only introduced our means for self-destruction, initiating a New Era by adding human selection to natural selection; he also told us what we must do to prevent Armageddon. Einstein is best known for conceiving our first weapon of mass destruction (WMD). We waste a huge amount of our mental and physical resources developing bigger WMD and then protecting ourselves from them. Einstein was actually a peacenik! Thus far, we ignore his most important insight: We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. The task he proposes is not only doable, it is quite essential. The Guide explains why we are destined to grow destructive aggression and it provides the practical steps to attain the personal and global nirvana that is also within our grasp.
E=mc2 explained that mass could be converted into energy, immense energy; thus, the creation of the atomic bomb. Our brain routinely converts physical energy into mental energy: images, symbols, thoughts, and thinking. We create language, ideas, concepts, and “trigger words” to convert mental energy into physical energy. We call this will power.
physical action mental energy (thinking) will power physical action
Our magnificent brain has allowed us to become dominant over all other earth creatures. We alone are capable of cloning life, leaving earth, and joining nature and nurture as directors of our life’s course. We are freeing ourselves from the whims of fate and circumstance. Most recently we have the distinction of attaining sufficient power to alter the natural course of the world we live in … for our benefit and/or to our detriment.
We have become the greatest threat to our well-being. The manner we think is our source of growing power. It is also the major source of hatred, prejudice, resentment, guilt, depression, and harmful aggression including the suicide bomber and war. Perhaps this is why the most universal prayer is for peace – peace-of-mind, peace-in-the-world. Why not make the manner we think our greatest source of well-being, our resource to create weapons of mass construction (WMC)? We can do so! We must. Will you participate? Until you become part of the solution, you will remain part of the problem. Here is a brief explanation of why this is so.
The manner we think is first servant to two powerful masters over which we have little control – our nature and our nurture. Each includes destructive aggression in their repertoire.
Master #1 of our thinking: Nature, the combination of fate and our genes
Who and what we are at birth is the outcome of our genetic inheritance. More than the 9 months of gestation guided by our parent’s chromosomes, the messages coded in our DNA have been programmed over billions of years in a continuous chain through history. They provide us the wisdom of trial-and-error and survival of the fittest. Though superficially different, we are far more alike in the way we function. Our organs do similar things, so much so that we may even transplant one person’s organs for another. We are provided built in clocks that turn-on sleep cycles, sexual interest, menstruation, menopause, etc. Our genes provide characteristic patterns of behavior found in other species. Instinct directs us to fight for survival, to reach maturity and reproduce, and thereafter die. Our motivation to benefit our self and/or our kind is often at the expense of “not” our kind. The world consists of me and not me. We are born amoral, impatient (I want what I want when I want it), quite helpless, and thereafter we are dependent and gullible for many years after birth. Like other organisms, “fight or flight” is a dominant behavioral characteristic. Destructive aggression to attain our needs is within our nature. Try to imagine the thinking of a primitive mind, limited in verbal training and lacking the knowledge we have acquired from science? How different/similar to the animals species?
Master #2 of our thinking: Nurture, the teachings of our culture and circumstance
Our newly born mind has been described as a tabula rasa, an unwritten on tablet. We are helpless and gladly accept what we are force fed with limited resistance. Our nurturers embed culture into our native language: what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, who to trust and who to fear, what to love and what to hate, what has or lacks value … we learn to owe allegiance to our family, leaders and government, the “right” religion, and we are taught how to interpret our world. The beliefs and prejudices of our parents, our teachers, and our culture wire our manner of thinking in a similar manner that others program a computer or robot to process data to their specifications.
The manner of thinking emphasized in our native language (and every native language) is prescriptive and dichotomous. Characteristic prescriptive words are should, have to, must, and ought. They convey our dependence and requirement to obey the rules of some outside authority. Dichotomous means two sides. We are taught to perceive reality in one of two either … or categories: good or bad, right or wrong, for me (us) or against me (us), mine or yours, etc. Our early manner of thinking misleads us because reality is not “either…or.” It is not black or white. Reality has infinite shades and varieties of color. Let us recognize that the dependency reality-distorting native language our nurturers teach must be prescriptive and dichotomous because, indeed, well into our first decades we are physically immature and mentally undeveloped. The critical point to recognize is that most individuals’ formal language learning ceases before our matured brain is capable of upgrading our manner of thinking. Society’s establishments have yet to provide universal education once we reach the state of maturity when we are capable of acquiring the newer way of thinking, ANWOT. Most persons remain stuck in the dependency, prescriptive, dichotomous manner of thinking programmed by fate and circumstance. Thinking remains a slave to the dictates of our genes and nurturers. The characteristic perspectives of our early masters persist within our native language. Our thinking is prone to foster survival of the fittest, destructive aggression, winning at others expense, prejudice, hatred, domination, “rightness,” and the behaviors we observe throughout history that support conflict leading to wars.
Master of our thinking #3: Self-mastery, becoming one’s own person
We are without choice as we passively dogmatically acquire the manner of thinking programmed within our native language by master #1 and master #2, fate and circumstance. Emancipating our self from our first masters, i.e. mental freedom, is an active process requiring personal choice. And that choice is not available to us until we attain sufficient mental maturity to engage in a newer way of thinking, estimated to grow in prominence in our second or third decade. Though some are fortunate enough to have nurturing role models and/or a liberating education that initiates ANWOT, and some are bright enough to teach themselves the upgraded language, most remain servant to masters’ nature and nurture. Many persons remain “love junkies” going through life addicted to others approval.
Einstein recognized that our prevalent manner of thinking and WMD don’t mix. Unless we modify our manner of thinking, it is predictably a matter of time before we create our own “big bang.” Our superior brain makes us the only creature capable of creating our own self-destruction. However, we are also capable of striving for nirvana and using our marvelous mental capabilities to create weapons of mass construction (WMC). The thinking that can produce all manner of ills and make us our own worst enemy is equally available to us to create peace, love, cooperation, philanthropy, sharing, and win-win relations. Freeing our mind allows us to choose.
The ANWOT vocabulary of self-mastery: There is wonderful news! We do not require a new language to upgrade our manner of thinking. ANWOT requires a limited number of simple “word-switches” that rewire our processing of data for self-mastery. These word substitutions stimulate personal responsibility and “reflective” thinking – the mature mental skill of thinking about our thinking and becoming conscious of our consciousness. Reflective thinking is the source of emancipating our mind from dependency. The vocabulary for ANWOT may be taught in a relatively short time. However, we have yet to make such educational programs available to our masses. Until we do so, most persons will continue the dependency, prescriptive, dichotomous manner of thinking embedded in their native language. Seven simple vocabulary changes that prepare our mind for ANWOT are explained in the Guide.
The need for wisdom: freedom + wisdom = virtue
Self-mastery is the freedom to act constructively and/or destructively. Though we strive for nirvana, what good if we destruct along the way. To freedom we must add wisdom if we are to consistently act for our well-being. Fortunately, we have available to us the collected wisdom of pioneers who have provided us examples of what “works,” and certainly multiple examples of what is to be avoided. The Guide contains my lifelong collection of such wisdoms and invites you and others to grow this curriculum of mental skills.
A common theme in our science fiction stories is that computers will become so smart that they will acquire an independent will and take control. Our fears have materialized; we are the computer who has joined nature and nurture in determining our fate. We are rapidly adding human selection to natural selection in determining what we and our world are to become!
The need for self-endorsement
The essential purpose of the Guide is to convey that our survival requires a newer way of thinking, ANWOT. This may be achieved through the joint efforts of many persons, you and you and you. “Each one, teach one.” Recognize that there is a prerequisite task before one is willing to offer their energy to the greater cause. That task is learning to first fulfill our self. Until we fill our own cup, it is difficult to spill over good will without strings (“Love thy neighbor as thy self.”). Thus, strens (skill building essays) on becoming our own best friend are an important early part of the ANWOT curriculum. We live with ourselves far more than anyone else. Our life’s experience dramatically improves when we become our own best friend. The strength building self-endorsement skills are among the most satisfying.
The Mental Response Control Panel (MRCP)
In addition to the vocabulary of ANWOT, the Guide identifies the 8 easy to learn mental choices available to us to process information. Application of the MRCP provides our thinking immense practical wisdom. For example, 2 of our most primitive and universal mental response patterns are what I call blaming-out and blaming-in. Though they are almost always harmful and result in escalation of conflict, they are easy to recognize and thereby to avoid. We engage in the blaming-out mental response pattern when we say, “He, she, they, or it did what they shouldn’t do (or didn’t do that they should do) and therefore deserves harm,” usually some form of mental and/or physical attack. We recognize blaming-in when we say, “I did what I shouldn’t do (or didn’t do what I should do) and therefore I deserve harm” leading to some form of guilt, self-putdown, depression, etc. See how easy?
We are most likely to create positive outcomes by teaching our self to substitute the “magical” problem-solving mental response pattern (of course not magic, but it works like magic); “Given this situation, which may be unfair, what can I do to reach the most desired outcome for me (us) and you (them), for now and in the future.” Two of the 8 MRCP choices are beneficial whereas you will do well to minimize or eliminate the alternative 6 choices.
“Religion”: an important source of universal values
We act most effectively when we are aware of our values. Science and fact do not provide sufficient information to guide our life. We act on assumptions that are largely an expression of what we believe, that we accept on faith. The great religions and many wise philosophers seem to agree on values we consider universal, such as the Golden Rule. The Guide emphasizes values that have come to universal acceptance. Most will find the values expressed will serve to strengthen their own personal religion.
Each one, teach one!
The intent of this guide is to add value to each reader and enlist you into the army making the world a kinder gentler place. Einstein was right! Let’s acquire the newer way of thinking and become part of the solution. Change begins from the ground up; The Establishment is most resistant to change. By making a difference in yourself, your efforts will influence others.
First, acquire skill in ANWOT. Study one or a few strens and add others as your proficiency grows. Recommend or provide the free Guide to others; it makes a nice gift. Participate in a discussion group. Amway, AA, and every religion began with the concept “each one, teach one.”
Enhance your estate! While we would like to provide something of value to those we love, most do not accumulate significant material wealth to pass on. Could you imagine that a gift of your life’s wisdom will be of greater value to loved ones than any material wealth? Collect your own life’s wisdoms. Use the Guide as a starting point if you like; pick and choose. Add what you feel will add well-being to those you care for and offer them a CD, tape recording, or other media as your legacy. I wish I had solicited more from my parents and grandparents of their life’s wisdoms.
Thanks for reading this overview of the self-help/help-others Guide. Your attention to ANWOT will be greatly appreciated by many persons, including myself.