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> A Small Thought On Mentality And Consciousness, From The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
post Oct 27 2013, 02:37 PM
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"...we often carry so many high expectations in so many areas of life that disappointment
is a forgone conclusion. The second reason that the freely roaming mind usually attends
to negative thoughts is that such a pessimistic bias might be adaptive—
if by “adaptation” we mean an increased likelihood of survival.
The mind turns to negative possibilities as a compass needle
turns to the magnetic pole, because this is the best way, on the
average, to anticipate dangerous situations. Positive outcomes are
gratifying, but they will take care of themselves, so we don’t need
to allocate scarce psychic energy to their contemplation. By dwelling
on unpleasant possibilities, however, we will be better prepared
for the unexpected. The bias toward negative outcomes is well illustrated by the
attraction that any kind of disaster has for most people. A traffic
accident, a fire, a street fight will immediately draw a crowd of avid
spectators. Attention is attracted to violence and danger, whereas it
skips over the normal, the peaceful, the contented. The media are
very aware of this propensity, so newspaper stories are filled with
atrocities, and television shows revel in gore. As a result, the average
child is estimated to witness over seventy thousand murders on
television before he or she grows up. What the long-term consequences
of such a visual diet are going to be remains to be seen.
When the mind dwells on something negative, it creates conflict
in consciousness. This conflict—or psychic entropy—is experienced
as negative affect. Feeling a bald spot on my head causes me
to think about all the unpleasant consequences of getting old, and
it makes me feel depressed. Or my mind may drift to office politics
and the way certain colleagues are trying to advance their careers at
my expense; this makes me angry and apprehensive. Or I might idly
wonder why my wife isn’t home yet, and this makes me feel jealous
and worried. Depression, anger, fear, and jealousy are simply different
manifestations of psychic entropy. In all cases, what happens
is that attention turns to information that conflicts with goals; the
discrepancy between what I desire and what is actually happening
creates the inner tension.
The species mind is not only Faustian in its discontent, but almost
Victorian in its prurient fascination with the downside of life.
cause of this, if we let our individual consciousness be directed by
genetic instructions that have been advantageous in the past, the
quality of our life is likely to suffer in the present."

Beautiful, tragic, an opportunity, a good thing to remember, drivel? You decide.

Much love

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." -Maurice Ravel

"There's no such place as dumb question." -Dose One
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