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 Delusions and confidence.

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RichardB



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PostSubject: Delusions and confidence.   Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:00 pm

Recently I have made great strides. For a long time I seemed to have lost my confidence, yet while actually increasing my skills and abilities! It was clear that I had something before that I had subsequently lost, but what? I could not pin it down... Until I thought of this, from a review of the book "A mind of it's own." by Cordelia Fine.

Quote :
Many psychological studies show that on average, each of us believes we are above average compared with othersómore ethical and capable, better drivers, better judges of character, and more attractive. Our weaknesses are, of course, irrelevant. Such self distortion protects our egos from harm, even when nothing could be further from the truth. Our brains are the trusted advisers we should never trust. This "distorting prism" of selfknowledge is what Cordelia Fine, a psychologist at the Australian National University, calls our "vain brain." Fine documents the lengths to which a human brain will go to bias perceptions in the perceiverís favor. When explaining to ourselves and others why something has gone well or badly, we attribute success to our own qualities, while shedding responsibility for failure. Our brains bias memory and reason, selectively editing truth to inflictless pain on our fragile selves. They also shield the ego from truth with "retroactive pessimism," insisting the odds were stacked inevitably toward doom.

Alternatively, the brain of "selfhandicappers" concocts nonthreatening excuses for failure. Furthermore, our brains warp perceptions to match emotions. In the extreme, patients with Cotard delusion actually believe they are dead. So "pigheaded" is the brain about protecting its perspective that it defends cherished positions regardless of data. The "secretive" brain unconsciously directs our lives via silent neural equipment that creates the illusion of willfulness. "Never forget," Fine says, "that your unconscious is smarter than you, faster than you, and more powerful than you. It may even control you. You will never know all of its secrets."

So what to do? Begin with self-awareness, Fine says, then manage the distortions as best one can. We owe it to ourselves "to lessen the harmful effects of the brainís various shams," she adds, while admitting that applying this lesson to others is easier than to oneself. Ironically, one category of persons shows that it is possible to view life through a clearer lens. "Their self-perceptions are more balanced, they assign responsibility for success and failure more even-handedly, and their predictions for the future are more realistic. These people are living testimony to the dangers of self-knowledge," Fine asserts. "They are the clinically depressed." Case in point.

...And what is it I have nearly obsessed about for the last few years? Being humbly realistic! Because after being exposed to too much posturing and martial arts idiocy my BS detector freaking broke and I didn't want to be like them pyjamites. Turns out a little delusion is necessary. What I had lost was my delusions of badassedness. I refused to entertain them in the least. Once I brought them back my whole outlook changed. Functional insanity in principle at least, isn't it?

A lot of people have been posting about feeling paranoid-ish and running low on confidence, and often it seems like it's a result of giving RBSD training an honest focus. Maybe it is because we actually realize that there is some serious shit out there, and that our abilities need polishing. I think it's a healthy thing, like fear of heights (respect of, not phobia mind you...). Then again when mindset and the psychological, or I suppose emotional edge can be so crucial. Those delusions of badassedness seem to actually be better left in place. Basically this means some light doublethink as you try to also respect the fact that there really is some serious shit out there.

...And haven't I heard both Bob and Richie bring this up in some of the CD's and DVD's? It's so easy to just hear it and go "yup, interesting" but it really is a big thing. Those who are running low on confidence might want to play around with this a bit.
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Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:01 pm

experienced soldiers who run into battle and report experiencing little fear BELIEVE "it will never happen to me"...

logically it makes no sense, but the mind and body dont run on logic

"delusion" (or "perceptual filtering") is the glue that holds the mind together and the oil that allows it to run

too much delusion and you've got an idiot with an invincibility complex

too little and you have an intelligent, reasonable coward
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BodhiKoyote

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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:53 am

Richard Grannon wrote:
experienced soldiers who run into battle and report experiencing little fear BELIEVE "it will never happen to me"...

logically it makes no sense, but the mind and body dont run on logic

"delusion" (or "perceptual filtering") is the glue that holds the mind together and the oil that allows it to run

too much delusion and you've got an idiot with an invincibility complex

too little and you have an intelligent, reasonable coward

so i must ask...how DO you change your delusions (make them stronger) or shape them to your needs?
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Quillhook

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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:38 pm

How about, instead of an 'intelligent, reasonable coward', becoming 'an intelligent reasonable coward who believes there are some things that are worth dying for'?

The samurai (grossly oversimplified) didn't think 'it'll never happen to me' they thought 'When it does happen to me I will be well-prepared enough to make it meaningful for me and very costly to the enemy'.
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RichardB



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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:52 pm

It's kind of simple really. Delude yourself. Let your ego get some extra space. Just make sure you stay in touch with reality. Keep a grain of truth in the mix. I.e., train hard and honestly and all that. With that in, fighting pretty much takes care of itself. And BTW that has been a real effective though for me.

A) Presupposing that you can fight, then...

B) What's going to happen is what is going to happen. I.e., all that thinking about the issue won't mean shit anyway because you're too caught up in the monent and the body just seem to act on it's own anyway.

So there's less useless thinking about the matter and if it should rear it's ugly head then you'll just smack that shit in which ever way you'll do it anyway (whatever you do in training basically). That's less delusion than it is an observation of what seems to happen however, but it pulls in the same direction. Giving some confidence about violence.

I noticed you said in another thread on confidence that you tend to think of the opponent as being better in several ways and so on. Not really a bad line of thought as people do tend to go for someone they think they have an advantage over. Then again, it's all in your mind. Have you noticed how staggeringly little of the everyday worries every happen? It almost never happens! And the odd times when it really does happen, what do you do? You just deal with it in some way, right? I'm talking all over the field here, not just violence, but the same applies there. Expectations always seem to be worse then the real thing. A devil may care attitude about it helps. Like Quillhook says about the samurai. "You may take me down, but you're coming with me." And when you think about it, you are already dead aren't you? Think you'll live forever? Samurai philosophy is pretty good stuff here.

But back to delusion stuff. Pick some random guy off the street. Do you think you could beat him up? You've got to be convinced that you really can beat the shit out of most people out there. And why can you do that? Because you spend a lot of time training to do so. (just make sure you really do train effective skills)

Also as a sidenote. I've caught myself trying to compensate for social lack of confidence with stuff like this in the past. Sitting there wondering if I'm the only guy in the room who has really given thoigh to X or Y when I suddenly realize, what the fuck has that got to do with the issue? Social monkey politics and violence are two separate things that only come together in places like American prisons and other social jungles. In civillized society, the martial arts training will never be able to truly compensate for lack of social confidence, so if that's where it is coming from then that's what has to be worked on. And from earlier discussions in this forum it seems like a lot of people take up martial arts because of feelings more related to social inadequacy than for it's fighting-element. At least initially anyway.
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maija
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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:04 pm

As you can tell, I have nowhere to go today so I am spending way more time than is probably healthy perusing the older posts .... and here is another one, so linked in some ways to the self esteem thread!
Interesting quote from the Cordelia Fine book, though I have to disagree with this part :
Quote:".....These people are living testimony to the dangers of self-knowledge," Fine asserts. "They are the clinically depressed." Case in point."
Why does she assume that self knowledge and clearer, more 'realistic' predictions of the future is depressing? Or did I read that wrong?
Realism just "is" - it's not good or bad. Perhaps more easy or less easy would be a better description.
They say enlightenment is purely seeing things as they really are. Nothing more. They already ARE that way, no need to change, go or do anything. It is the seeing of reality through the lens of ego that is the delusional, painful thing to do and perhaps not knowing how to change that is the depressing part.
And this, to me, as a teacher, is the interesting part ... If the disparity between Reality and your ego's view of it is what causes problems, how do you fix it?
Martial arts and fighting can be very direct experiences of this disparity, rooted as it is in the very physical world where your delusions can get a severe whomping when put to the test. I suspect that it is the avoidance of this potential 'discovery' that causes so much BS in this pond in which we swim. After all, if you only TALK about your deadly secret pinkie of death technique, you can keep the belief that it will really work, and hence that you keep being a big, important mofo.
What if you want to get better? Improve your skills and find out what/who you really are? It seems to me that you need to be both humble, i.e. open to the idea that you suck, AND believe in the idea that you will improve if you practice. To me the second part is as important as the first because you have to create a place in your mind for the possibility of things that are not real ....yet. That is what a teacher, or guide is for, and why getting a good one that can really walk the walk and show the possibilities to you is SO important.
When you start, the local Bull Shi Dojo at the local mini mall may be OK, but if you have any curiosity or wish to progress, you will graduate to better and better things, discarding more and more of the Wang King Fu for places like this. Of course, the real work is within yourself (insert favorite quote about finger pointing at the moon with fading sound of distant gong ...)
afro
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Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:11 am

Maija "the re animator"... thanks for reviving this thread if you hadnt I wouldnt have seen this

Quote :
Also as a sidenote. I've caught myself trying to compensate for social lack of confidence with stuff like this in the past. Sitting there wondering if I'm the only guy in the room who has really given thoigh to X or Y when I suddenly realize, what the fuck has that got to do with the issue? Social monkey politics and violence are two separate things that only come together in places like American prisons and other social jungles. In civillized society, the martial arts training will never be able to truly compensate for lack of social confidence, so if that's where it is coming from then that's what has to be worked on. And from earlier discussions in this forum it seems like a lot of people take up martial arts because of feelings more related to social inadequacy than for it's fighting-element. At least initially anyway.

from The Say Betterer Richard B... dont know what I was doing on september the 6 th but I didnt see this... isnt it interesting that even nice civilised intelligent folk who feel social anxiety move to redressing this balance by accessing more PHYSICAL power first?

observation- i feel anxious and threatened
orientation- people frighten me i need to do something about it
decision- i need to learn to beat them up to make myself feel better
action- go to local chop suey partial arts class

and then your troubles begin in earnest Razz kung fu vs boxing vs ninjistus vs midget wrestling vs my ego vs your ego vs my map vs your map vs your tshirt is prettier than mine vs but my tshirt has been in more fights than yours... drunken


Quote :
If the disparity between Reality and your ego's view of it is what causes problems, how do you fix it?
a good question Maija... maybe not just "a" good question... might be "the" good question!

how do you make your map of reality more closely and accurately represent reality?

how do you make the pictures on the inside of your head match up to the bright shiny world outside your head?

how do you alter a persons belief?

waht happens if there is a disparity between reality and your ego's view of it?
quite simple: the beginnings of that normal everyday common place type of insanity that we experience at full pitch in shared realities created by social constructs and group think - a fine manifestation of which is your local Bull Shi Dojo Very Happy


Last edited by Richard Grannon on Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : oni gedaki)
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chulodog

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PostSubject: Re: Delusions and confidence.   Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:30 pm

too much delusion and you've got an idiot with an invincibility complex

too little and you have an intelligent, reasonable coward


nicely said
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