Thoughts about thoughts
All of us experience thought, but we seldom stop to think about the nature of thought and how it works.
Most people think the thoughts they are having are their own thoughts, after all, they are the ones who produce them. But just because we can reproduce something we heard, it doesn’t mean we have the rights to it. The song from the radio that got stuck in your head is not your thought, it was implanted in your mind, then it got triggered.
So where does thought come from?
Now we can start by learning more about the mind and understanding how it works, and once we do that, then we can begin learning how to control it, and if we know how to control it, then we can focus it. Knowing how to control and manipulate your own thoughts can give you insights in how other people are thinking, and enable you to better understand and perceive the world in ways you never thought possible.
A common misconception about the mind is that it is split in two autonomous parts: your conscious mind and your subconscious, or another example, your left and right hemispheres.
The fact is, your mind functions as one, both your conscious mind and subconscious are one and the same, we can think of them as layers on top of the brain. Your subconscious can’t make decisions which your conscious mind won’t accept. A hypnotist can’t make you run naked on the street, unless you are the type of person who would run naked on the street.
Yes, layers work in different ways, but are deeply connected with each other. The conscious mind is part of your awareness, and it’s the first layer you can perceive. It is what we use to organise our knowledge and create new concepts. The subconscious is the layer that takes care of the tasks you decided (knowingly or not) how you want to do, it does not make decisions. This layer helps you do repetitive tasks more effectively, for example: to tie your shoes, riding the bycicle, playing an instrument etc. Instead of thinking that both are separate individuals, each doing its job, you can think of them as a team, one can’t work without the other.
Part of owning your mind is understanding how the layers on top of your brain interact with each other, how to alter them, and how to form new ways of thinking.
All you do is think.
Thoughts can be triggered by outside influences, as a way of processing information, or they can be created by yourself, just like when we think about new ideas or concepts. Therefore, not all thoughts are our own creation. Now how can we know which thoughts are our own?
Whenever we think about something, we do so in one of the following ways: we create mental images or movies, we talk to ourselves, we have feelings, or we recall information from our senses.
We perceive our senses as thoughts. When we use our senses, we actually use thought to process information. Pain resides in the mind, it is always imagined. Congenital analgesia is a rare condition in which a given person cannot feel pain, they actually have to visually inspect their body everyday for any cuts, bruises or any other physical damage.
Brain chemistry also plays an important role in your thought process. The consensus is, that everything psychological is biological. Chemicals can decide how you think, sense, or feel. Serotonin can influence your mood, hunger and sleep, and low ammounts of serotonin are linked to depression.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is widely recommended for improving mental health. It also helps to challenge your beliefs, notice patterns, and replace errors in reasoning.
Feelings can deeply influence thought. Love is an idea, and like any idea, it has a set of descriptions and a origin. The definition of an idea is a formulated thought, the central meaning of all your actions. It controls everything you do. From the day you were born, you started learning what love means, then you reinforced that idea. You saw how it looks like on TV and all around, you listened to love songs, your friends, society etc. Then when you meet someone, you automatically adhere to the standards of love that were handed to you, and now, you had no part in deciding all of that.
Every idea has a single source that can be traced back and changed, this is called inception, and it’s a concept. Imagine that you think to a line, and your mind starts with one thought, and one thought, leads to another thought, until you build a structure. That structure is called a thought chain, and it leads you to reach an idea or a vision. These ideas or visions can change, and you could get new ones.
Notice how if you follow a particular thought, a sequence starts. Thoughts spark thoughts, they link to each other and you build thought chains. Thoughts can branch off in countless directions and you can easily lose track of them, or twist them together if you are not paying attention.
Language can influence our thoughts
The words someone uses in a conversation can leave clues to how they are thinking. Notice how some people tend to use phrases such as: “the way it looks to me” or “I see this differently” or “in my view”, others might say “I hear what you are saying” or “That sounds about right”, and others will say “This feels right” or “My gut tells me”.
Words are just a tool, and only have meaning in relation to other words. In some sense, words act as symbols, they change their meaning over time and naturally rely on other words. If you look in the dictionary for the definition of a word, you will only get more words.
Now, starting from the idea that you translate your thoughts into language, we could say that language can send your thoughts wandering in a particular direction. The words, act as a thought signal, and they can trigger a whole complex.
We can think faster than we speak, and we can think without language. The true function of language is to describe reality, now reality is nothing more than our sensory input, and the world is accessible to us only through a nervous system. Language helps to communicate with one another,and to make sense of the world around us: of the sounds we hear, feelings etc. But language has its limits, it stops us to see beyond what we think is real. Language is just a filter for reality.
Thought being as it is, what does it say about us?
Now, we must question the concept of ego. What if we are only the story we tell ourselves? What separates us from artificial intelligence? We are yet to discover.
If we can’t tell very well which of our thoughts are our own, how can we know that the information we receive is not actually stimulated thought? What if you did not become this way because you decided to, but because society conditioned you in such a way. Napoleon did not change society, society created Napoleon, and in turn he influenced society. It’s an endless loop.
Think about it.
If you still think your thoughts and ideas are all yours, I encourage you to watch this video. It shows how our thoughts can be tricked by using subliminal influences.
If you want to discover more, feel free to listen to my spotify playlist here (YouTube alternative here), or you can also access it from the menu. It is built to a structure, and it’s better if you play it in order, the message is in there. Now, read the italics, and do not think like you have to follow only one artist in there. Nobody is perfect, and they don’t know everything. I repeat, the playlist has a structure specially made by me.