More than just mindfulness

The Illusion of Control

September 23, 2019 Season 2 Episode 40
More than just mindfulness
The Illusion of Control
More than just mindfulness
The Illusion of Control
Sep 23, 2019 Season 2 Episode 40
Robert Mitchell
A look at the experience of being human compared with our cultural narrative
Show Notes

Visit for a more readable version.
The common narrative is the cultural story which we all share, rooted in folklore, that we use to explain our reality. The common narrative is a fluid construct of our collective consciousness. We also all have a version of this common narrative which is our personal narrative. This is the tape that runs in many of our heads. The purpose of the narrative is to explain our reality and update the set of beliefs we already hold known as a mental model 📖(Daniel Kahneman 'Nobel Prize Holder' - Thinking Fast and Slow, Farrar Strauss and Giroux Press 2011) . 
An example is atomic theory which was constructed by Democritus who was a quite possibly legendary pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He formulated the theory that reality is made of ever decreasing sized particles, like grains of sand on a beach, from which everything else is made. This became the prevailing theory of the fundamental nature of the universe which science has pursued and applied: 📖

Currently, the prevailing theory used to measure and calculate events at the fundamental level is Quantum Field Theory. Quantum Field Theory calcuates fundamental events as 'disturbances in a field'. Not as collisions of particles. This shift in scientific knowledge has yet to be translated into the public consciousness and so the deeply embedded folkloric paradigm of matter being atoms of stuff (particles) is maintained in public education, even up to a high level. 
Science, and subsequently society, applies paradigms (frameworks of knowledge and belief) to constuct a narrative that expains our reality. Anything that science cannot explain, such as the mind and thought, is either ignored (no lessons on the mind and thought at school are there?) or obfuscated in a mystique of scientific legitimacy. (you need to be a psychologist to understand the mind, despite the fact it is your mind!) Subsequently, there are no lessons in school about the mind. It is largely a taboo subject. It has become the province of academia. Previously of course, the mind was the province of religion and explained away with concepts such as sin and purity of mind. 
Along with other fundamental elements of human existence such as bereavement, the mind is ignored by the modern cultural narrative. Paradigms change once the weight of evidence becomes so overwhelming that it overturns the previous paradigm. This is known as a 'paradigm shift' and is the subject of one of the best known and most respected books on the history of science, ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ by Thomas Kuhn: 📖
An example of a paradigm shift is the Copernican Revolution. 📖
A paradigm shift occurred in the common narrative after the Apollo 11 mission and the photographs they returned with. Since then it has been possible to concieve of oneself a a citizen of the world. These images are largely credited with changing public awareness to enable a global perspective: 📖
'Executive Agency' is the concept that the human brain and mind operate like a top-down control structure where a ‘conscious mind’ makes choices which the rest of the system then carry out. It certainly feels like that to be human. As though we have free agency and that we exercise it. 📖
This concept of Executive Agency has become a philosophical football unfortunately at the mercy of determinists and people of faith, so it is difficult to pin down, but the sense that we are an entity

Support the show


Listen to this podcast on