It was something I instinctively understood at the time and later found out why. And when I did find out what actually causes people to do what they do, in fact to do anything at all, I was fascinated and put some serious time into the subject. Along the way I discovered as my instincts had told me, people rarely do what they do based on rational thought, including me.
So what really is the point of debating in the rational arena, the arena of ideas, as they say? The debate is not what moves people, at least not the rational arguments. We see that in political debates all the time. No argument changes a mind. Have you ever watched an academic debate, or a religious debate, say Catholic vs. Protestant? Those on one side remain steadfast in their position and those on the other just as unmoved. Each side claims to have won the debate because, of course, they were already convinced. Personally I would rather shove bamboo under my fingernails than listen to or watch an intellectual debate between partisans. So what moves people?
Actually, it is quite simple. No real mystery. People decide based on emotions which are deeply entwined with the mental filters they have in place based on a whole lifetime of learning and experiences, none of which are necessarily connected with the truth. If you think about that and some of the decisions you see made, it begins to make a whole lot of sense.
To understand this, and understand the role and function of our reason, we have to understand the entire package of our "mind" so that we know how it is that we believe what we believe, how we change what we believe, and on any given day, how we make the decisions that we make. There is actually a structure to it all, and once we understand the structure and some useful "hacks" into the system we can actually design our own belief system using our rational minds to determine what it is that we wish to believe and then entering that information onto the hard drive, so to speak.
Sound fantastic? Sort of like some late night Tony Robbins infomercial? Well, that's almost it. In fact, he uses a huge chunk of the knowledge base that enables us to do what I have claimed above. Yet, from what I know of his work and programs, he goes at it the hard way, at least much harder than is necessary. But that is getting ahead of ourselves.
First, I would like to say that this is not something I dreamed up on my own. In point of fact, there are several people to which I owe the ideas and knowledge that I have assembled. I will reference them as I go along. The man I owe the most to in terms of knowledge is David Snyder, because of his ability to take a broad range of information and connect the dots, as well as create or re-design so many of the techniques taught in various places, keeping what actually works and discarding the extraneous. My overview takes perhaps a different slant or direction, but it would not be possible without having studied what he has had to offer online and using the sources and references as well.
But lets start from the beginning...
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