Today’s stren, #32, considers the process by which we transform ourselves from victim of fate and circumstance into the wise creator of a joyous life experience. In stren #31, I introduced the new word, “mentogenous,” to recognize the source of our critical third phase of development – when we have the opportunity to assume personal responsibility for who we are and create what we are to become. The existing words “endogenous” and “exogenous” limit our thinking to the first and second phases of our life cycle. The mentogenous third phase of development, self-mastery, begins as our cerebral cortex attains sufficient physical, mental, and emotional maturity to free our will power from instinct, tradition, and human dictators, i.e. our endogenous and exogenous controllers. We assume personal responsibility by selectively identifying the predetermined action patterns that no longer work, creating original common sense solutions using current knowledge, and then substituting the new solution for the established action. Humankind, individually and collectively, is a work-in-process. As we apply new knowledge to make ourselves increasingly powerful creators and destroyers of our future, we must teach ourselves a newer “out of the box” way of thinking if we choose to continue to have a future.
In today’s stren, I want to convey an important second benefit of creating the word-switch “mentogenous.” During our years of immaturity, the trigger words that comprise our native language are strongly biased to turn on the action pathways created by endogenous and exogenous sources, primarily instinct and the traditions of our nurturers. The perspective of instinct and tradition, like the perspective of human dictators, leads to processing information into two either/or categories. This “dichotomous” way of thinking divides the world into two opposing sides. Bigotry, prejudice, win/lose confrontation, and war can be explained as getting stuck in the hard-wired either/or way of thinking we all first acquire. Self-mastery requires redirecting our established either/or thinking to more accurate both...and processing of information. This newer way of thinking takes considerable mental initiative because our early two-category thinking becomes automatic and effortless through repetition.
For most individuals, the soft-wired problem-solving mentogenous action pathways inspired by common sense are not fully developed until our late 20’s or early 30’s. It is important to recognize that we commonly acquire the constructive AND destructive power of knowledge before we acquire sufficient common sense wisdom to consistently direct our actions to beneficial outcomes. We remain guided by instinct and tradition’s either/or action pathways until we actively upgrade our mentogenous creative skills with both...and common sense thinking. Recall that both...and thinking makes us aware of our similarities. Collaboration for the mutual benefit of all tribes is critical for our survival in an era where we are making weapons with ultimate destructive power commonplace. Either/or thinking emphasizes our differences; it sustains the inherited “red alert” fight or flight instant reaction pathway that was critical for our ancestors to survive in a primitive environment.
As we strengthen our mentogenous action pathways using common sense wisdom, we empower ourselves to substitute “both...and” processing of information for the “either/or” way of thinking that has become tradition through our immature years. Most of us require decades of education before becoming sufficiently mentally equipped to wisely master our power. Our transition from immature “either/or” to “both...and” thinking progresses slowly with each common sense wisdom we add to our knowledge. The newer common sense problem-solving frees us from the immature thinking that prejudges what is “good” in the world and denigrates all else as “evil” or “bad.” The mentogenous-inspired “on the fly” logical thinking of our matured freedom organ is our means to replace the innate either/or thinking dominant in every native language. Given today’s weapons, we must popularize the both...and thinking that consistently directs new knowledge to constructive outcomes.
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