We pride ourselves in being rational people living in a rational community. But are we? In Chapter 6 of Entangled Minds, Dean Radin raises the “rational man” issue. We assume that science is a rational process and new evidence will sway prior beliefs.
I’ve talked before here about how the mind makes a story about the world to better function in it. The ego likes to be right, so it seeks confirmation of its story or beliefs. Radin observes that rather than swaying us toward a new or revised belief, conflicting data curiously tends to confirm our prior beliefs. This, he observed, is called the “confirmation bias.” Evidence that supports your beliefs is perceived as plausible. Anything that challenges your beliefs is seen as implausible.
Thus while “latent inhibition” (defined prior) may blind us, seeing still does not mean believing. We could say “believing is believing” rather than seeing.
Studies in social psychology have repeatedly demonstrated that research submitted for publication is judged based on beliefs rather than science. If it’s not believed, it won’t likely be published and it won’t be seen by other scientists. This tends to mean maintenance of the status quo and incremental evolution. As Radin observes, scientists are generally curious so the rules tend to change with persistence and retirement of the old guard.
In Radins context, it was about the massive body of research that has established the existence of psi. I’ve seen this in other areas too. One of the more interesting bodies of research in the last 25 years is the evidence that large groups of people meditating together have large effects on the entire community. Almost immediate substantial reduction in crime rate, hospital admissions, and various other indexes of quality of life. In fact, they’ve gone into war zones and ended wars this way. As John Lennon famously said “War is Over, if you want it.”
A large and impeccable study on this effect was published in a journal, but the editor felt obliged to preface it with a comment. He said they were publishing the results because the science was indisputable. But if they could prove this with science, he felt there was something wrong with the methodology. In other words, he was more willing to consider the basis of research flawed than he was that meditation could have such effects.
Of course, we see this in all areas of life. We expect our elected representative to be rational(sort of). We pass laws that people don’t need when they’re rational and will forget when they’re not. We use fear as an enforcement. We’re barraged with advertising appealing to our base instincts. Nature itself follows natural laws but often does so in a simplicity that defies logic.
This isn’t so bad. In We’re Entangled, Radin defined a profile of someone most likely to have psychic experiences. Among the qualities was the tendency to make decisions “based more on feelings than logic.” I observed many of these qualities were features of right brain functioning. This approach cultures the imagination, the ability to make intuitive leaps, and to have insight a linear process will not reach.
Happily, the key to a full life is balance. Not a rejection of the rational nor of feelings. It is in finding a balance between these 2 parts of ourselves, our heart & mind, our yin and yang.
How do we do that? By developing our consciousness, the container of heart and mind. This steps us out of them, then we’re not caught by our feelings or ideas. Awareness rules and the mind becomes a tool and not a master. The heart flows but doesn’t drown.
This is the Rational Heart, the Loving Mind, in open awareness.