The As If Principle

Listening to The As If Principle from Richard Wiseman. Halfway thru and my mind is completely blown. I would never buy a book with such a lame self-help guru-esque title. However this one comes from someone whose work I follow, and it is firmly grounded in science.

My key takeaway from the book so far: We are such confused creatures; I’d say hopelessly confused. Some day trans-humans will laugh at how amazingly inept we really were, or we’ll just stumble into extinction much the same way we seem to lead our days. I’m always looking for the limits of our understanding, and now I see even clearer that we don’t understand jack shit.

The “As If” Principle is all about the idea that out conscious minds read the state of the body (pulse, temperature, energy, posture) then add contextual information (what you see, hear, smell) and try to figure out what is going on, and that most of the time the machinery is so basic and crude that it gets everything wrong. Example: You’re jogging with someone and instead of attributing the increased heart rate and endorphins to the exercise, you think you love the person. You are asked to hold a pencil between your teeth and feel you’re happier. You pull a table towards you while looking at picture of someone and you like them more…. The list of these is endless yet the idea Richard talks about is constant: You minds alters how you feel about EVERYTHING based on what it reads from its surroundings and your body, and you have no control over it – Your conscious mind is more like a sportscaster than an actual player in this game. I don’t think Richard states it quite this way, yet that’s what I’m seeing so far.

Here’s an extremely short RSA-Animate style excerpt about the book. Go get it now.