Einstein Saw Reality’s Persistence – You?

Joanna Young,  over at Confident Writing started people thinking about persistence, and that got me seeing how hanging-in’s not always a brain’s noblest attribute. Have you seen the opposite sides of persistence too?

When Einstein stated that reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one, he opened a new segue for the brain to cultivate perseverance. How so? 

We change our reality whenever we risk acting in it’s opposite directions. Treat a person well who treated you poorly, for no other reason than to try this out, and watch your brain rewire for a new reality and a new day.

Old assumptions die hard, and they often persist in ways that make us miserable. It’s because they settle into the brain’s basal ganglia and pop up as truth each time some event pokes at a related topic.  Take the guy who nailed you in uncaring ways.

Your brain stores messages such as: That guy is out to get me.  Each time you replay the scene where he did you wrong the brain goes to work storing more permanent false realities about his hurtful character.  Did you know the human brain has a natural propensity for ruts where flawed assumptions live, and that we daily make choices to either  default back to – or override mental ruts?

Research also shows how we activate the working memory as a tool to leapfrog over persistent illusions that mask as reality. I wonder if Einstein knew the science behind his genius? You?

7 Comments

  1. Joanna Young says:

    Thanks for the follow up Ellen. I can’t help thinking it would be rather more helpful if our brains didn’t keep so persistent with unhelpful attitudes and beliefs… but I guess the ability to persist does serve us well in other ways, with things we do want to make happen, and behaviours we want to cultivate.

    Joanna Youngs last blog post..What Do You Look For in a Book Review?

  2. eweber says:

    Thanks Joanna, it’s so fun to think of an opposite angle of topics and it surprised me to see how the brain uses persistent in ways that we’d rather not follow. It’s the wonder of a good day, when folks like you nudge us to rethink common assumptions about a wonderful word such as persistence.

  3. rummuser says:

    How I wish that “our brains didn’t keep so persistent with unhelpful attitudes and beliefs…”!

    At least mine seems to have a brain of its own!
    ———————————————————————————–

    Incidentally, how does one contact you? It would be of help if you could put in a ‘contact’ box. Why I wish to contact you is to send you this separately, but since I am unable to, I paste it below.

    “Unspoken assumptions and implied
    information are important to both the
    perception of
    a trick and its subsequent reconstruction.
    Magician James Randi (“the Amaz!ng Randi”) notes
    that spectators are more easily lulled into
    accepting suggestions and unspoken
    information than
    direct assertions. Hence, in the reconstruction
    the spectator may remember implied suggestions
    as if they were direct proof.

    “Psychologists Petter Johansson and Lars
    Hall, both at Lund University in Sweden, and
    their colleagues have applied this and other
    magic techniques in developing a completely
    novel
    way of addressing neuroscientific questions.
    They presented picture pairs of female faces to
    naive experimental subjects and asked the
    subjects to choose which face in each pair they
    found more attractive. On some trials the
    subjects were also asked to describe the
    reasons for
    their choice. Unknown to the subjects, the
    investigators occasionally used a
    sleight-of-hand
    technique, learned from a professional magician
    named Peter Rosengren, to switch one face for
    the other-after the subjects made their choice.

    Thus, for the pairs that were secretly
    manipulated, the result of the subject’s
    choice became
    the
    opposite of his or her initial intention.
    Intriguingly, the subjects noticed the switch in
    only 26 percent of all the manipulated pairs.
    But
    even more surprising, when the subjects were
    asked to state the reasons for their choice in a
    manipulated trial, they confabulated to
    justify the
    outcome-an outcome that was the opposite of
    their actual choice! Johansson and his
    colleagues
    call the phenomenon “choice blindness.” By
    tacitly but strongly suggesting the subjects had
    already made a choice, the investigators were
    able
    to study how people justify their choices–even
    choices they do not actually make.

    Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik,
    “The Magic and the Brain,” Scientific
    American,
    December 2008, pp. 77-78.

    rummusers last blog post..Down Memory Lane.

  4. The perceptions we have of reality and the brain connection to beware of that person who was aggresive or did us wrong has strong roots in evolutionary biology.
    We must remember that our evolution took place (brain and body) on open plains in hunting and gathering early agarian societies. Our brains are set to percieve large objects in a large world our perception of reality is based upon what we evolved for surivival.
    Illusionary perception is from the thought that we all percieve what we percieve differently, I wonder how what we view is in common to othes.
    We all have this ability to re-connect our brains to percieve that same object in many different ways. My opinion of what causes this perception shift is our reltationship with the object. For example the “man is out to get me” his perception could be, “you are out to get me, the world is out to get me, I am hungry” what the reciprical perception is and must be is that this person is minimally due respect.
    Once we start to view people as autonomous entities that are the same as me, our brains will percieve persons in that way.
    although we are still stuck with what our perception of personhood is?

    michael carduss last blog post..CommentLuv needs updating on this site. Please download the latest version and install it on your site. This message will apear during the first 10 minutes of each hour. This remote script will cease returning posts in 7 days

  5. […] from IQ tests. Do you agree?  Einstein claimed he was no more intelligent than others – but he stayed with problems longer. […]

  6. […] stay with life-changing solutions until they altered his own life too. Researchers added that his genius came through persistence in overriding mental ruts and optimizing opportunities to offer solutions. Where will your tone […]

  7. This is really very great information. Thanks for sharing with us.

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