Jun 25, 2007

Thoughts And The Reality of Pets & Children

So while we're still on the topic of thoughts affecting reality, let's turn our attention to our animal friends. Do you have a pet dog or cat? Would you like it to be smarter? Just start believing that it is smarter, and it will immediately start becoming smarter.

What? You don't believe Mr Wang? Let me make an even more grandiose claim. This "thought-affects-reality" method will work even for your pet hamster. Start believing that it is a smart little rodent, and its IQ will also expand.

Yes, this has been scientifically verified for rodents. In a famous experiment, a group of graduate students were given some rats and were told that these rats had been specially bred for their superior intelligence, especially for their "navigational" ability. Another group of students were given some other rats and were told that these rats had been specially bred for their stupidity.

All the students were then asked to train their respective rats to figure their way out of mazes. True enough, the supposedly "smart" rats ended up performing much better than the "stupid" rats. Most of the "stupid" rats did not even manage to make it past the start line in the maze.

Of course, the truth was that none of the rats had been specially bred for anything. All the rats had been randomly chosen for this experiment. They were "equal" rats. However, the (objectively false) belief that certain rats were smart led to the superior performance of those rats. The (objectively false) belief that certain rats were stupid led to the inferior performance of those rats.

Another simple example of thought affecting reality.

"Mr Wang, that's amazing," you say. "But are you sure it works for dogs and cats?"

Well, actually I don't know of any such experiments involving dogs or cats. After Robert Rosenthal finished his rat experiment, he skipped the dogs and cats and went on directly to human children.

In a school environment, teachers were, in effect, tricked into believing that certain children had been tested, and had already been proven, to be smarter than the other children. All other variables were controlled for. Eight months later, due to the teachers' false beliefs, the supposedly "smarter" children indeed turned out to be smarter. Despite having the same teachers and the same classroom lessons and the same school environment, the supposedly "smarter" children showed more intellectual gain on their IQ tests than the other children. In some cases they showed about twice as much improvement as the other children:


"All of the children in the study were administered a nonverbal test of intelligence, which was disguised as a test that would predict intellectual "blooming." The test was labeled "The Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition."


There were 18 classrooms in the school, three at each of the six grade levels. Within each grade level, the three classrooms were composed of children with above-average ability, average ability, and below-average ability, respectively. Within each of the 18 classrooms, approximately 20% of the children were chosen at random to form the experimental group. The teachers of these children were told that their scores on the "Test of Inflected Acquisition" indicated they would show surprising gains in intellectual competence during the next 8 months of school.


The only difference between the experimental group and the control group children, then, was in the minds of the teachers.

At the end of the school year, 8 months later, all the children were retested with the same test of intelligence. Overall, the children from whom the teachers had been led to expect greater intellectual gain showed a significantly greater gain than did the children of the control group, thereby supporting the "Pygmalion" hypothesis."
Link.


Here's the simple, practical summary. If you want your children to be smart, start believing that they are smart. If you want your children to be stupid, start believing that they are stupid. Whatever you choose to believe about your children, will come true.

Now, Mr Wang invites you to consider this. If your beliefs about another person, or even a rat, can already affect his/its mental abilities, how would your beliefs about yourself affect ..... your own mental abilities?

84 comments:

lost said...

the beliefs themselves might not be (some would say, are probably not) the only things affecting the final outcome. how the experimenters/teachers treat the rats/children, both consciously or subconsciously, is usually thought to be sufficient to influence it.

AverRal said...

our reality is what we make it out to be.

Chin Wee said...

Hi Mr Wang, could the experiment be "causally" linked?

Michaelk said...

If your beliefs about another person, or even a rat, can already affect his/its mental abilities, how would your beliefs about yourself affect ..... your own mental abilities?

Simply put, it works the same way as the Rosenthal effect. However, it won't work if the person does not work hard.

Here's an example. Tan is a student. He motivates himself daily by telling him that he is a great student, and will do really well for his exams. He truly believes that.

If Tan works hard, he will do much better than Lee, who worked equally hard but did not go through the daily rituals Tan did.

But if Tan is just bluffing himself and blissfully dreaming of grandiose visions of success, without working for it, he obviously will not succeed.

Mindhacking is similar to self-motivation, but on a deeper level.

Piper said...

"If you want your children to be smart, start believing that they are smart. If you want your children to be stupid, start believing that they are stupid. Whatever you choose to believe about your children, will come true."

It isn't that simplistic. It isn't about believing, it is about expecting. Our expectations influence how we act towards the kids. Thinking alone, without reciprocal action, is not going to change anything. If so, as a teacher, I should just sit in my classroom and think about my classes instead of scurrying around teaching them. Would you like your child's teacher to do that?

The link you provided also talks about mediating variables that are being studied which I think you should have mentioned. Rosenthal most certainly did not propose a simple one way causation that thoughts --> reality equation. In fact Rosenthal himself says that he does not know what to do with the findings.

One should also note that subsequently there were studies done which were not able to replicate the findings. One interesting thing that has come out of all this research is that the effect of who does the teaching is usually bigger than the effect of how one teaches, thus bringing about the question of how important teacher training really is.

Also, if thoughts has such a direct impact on the universe, then perhaps the results of the experiment here was a result of the experimenter's thoughts?

Henry Leong said...

I agreed with you a teacher belief and attitude has a strong influence over his/her students.
When I was in pri 1 to pri 3 I was at the bottom of the class.
At pri 4 when I shift to a new school, because of the teacher show strong interest in us, I improved to among the top of my class.

See how important is the teachers to their students.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I have absolutely no doubt that the teacher,

having certain beliefs about certain children,

will behave in certain ways different from how he would have behaved,

if he had not had those beliefs.

Thought cannot be separated from reality. The teacher's behaviour is part of reality. The teacher's thought affects reality. The teacher's thought therefore affects, among other things, his own behaviour, which is part of reality.

The insistence on seeing the teacher's behaviour as separate from reality

is an example of the illusion that Buddhism points out -

the illusion that each of us is a "self" separate from the rest of reality.

There IS no separation.

----

Try a different experiment. Take the same teachers, give them another school of children. Tell them - "your task is to raise the children's IQ by X points, within 8 months."

I am sure that many of those teachers would say:

"Huh? How is that possible? I never learned this at NIE. I know how to teach science, not how to raise IQ. Isn't IQ mostly genetic anyway? I don't have time to teach time how to think; I need to finish the syllabus. Anyway, how the hell do I raise IQ? Is this scientifically proven to be possible? Shall I make them do puzzles? Make them read more? Ask more questions? Give more homework? Watch science documentaries? Use Powerpoint to do presentations? I really do not know."

If the teachers believe that it is not possible, then it will not be possible. The IQ scores will not increaae after eight months.

But if the teachers believe that some of the children are already smart, (as in the Rosenthal experiment) then even though this is an objectively FALSE belief,

then the kids WILL become smarter. The teachers will STILL not know how to deliberately raise kids' IQ. If they are asked the question, they will STILL say:

""Huh? How is that possible? I never learned this at NIE. I know how to teach science, not how to raise IQ. Isn't IQ mostly genetic anyway? I don't have time to teach time how to think; I need to finish the syllabus. Anyway, how the hell do I raise IQ? Is this scientifically proven to be possible? Shall I make them do puzzles? Make them read more? Ask more questions? Give more homework? Watch science documentaries? Use Powerpoint to do presentations? I really do not know."

The startling point here is that they do not need to know.

They only need to believe.

The rest, as the Rosenthal experiment shows, follows automatically.

The conscious mind needs to believe. The unconscious mind does the rest - even if you think you do not know.

Colin said...

I'm still trying to think my dog into cleaning the windows and making predictions on bull runs. Not working so far but will keep trying!

Piper said...

I believe your exact words (which I copied and pasted) are "If you want your children to be smart, start believing that they are smart."

There is nothing there about action. Now if you say, if you want your children to be smart, start treating them as if they are smart, then this would be a different conversation.

Your first claim was that thoughts about someone would affect them in reality. Then you claim that behaviour follows automatically from thoughts. Really? I am somewhat skeptical about this.

Frankly, this "thought affecting reality" notion is disturbing. It's fine and dandy to think that one's good fortune / success is a result of thinking positive thoughts. What about bad experiences? If I were mugged, was it because I thought it upon myself? Or as this latest post implies, someone thought it upon me? Then what about natural disasters? Who thought those up? The victims?

Mr Wang Says So said...

One should also note that subsequently there were studies done which were not able to replicate the findings.

Correct. Among other things, the older the children are, the more difficult it becomes to observe the Rosenthal effect.

In the early years, the child's identity is still evolving. The child's ideas about himself are not as fixed as an adult's. You could say that the child is "innocent" or "gullible" or "naive".

In other words, the young child does not have such definite beliefs about how clever or stupid he is, or how capable or not capable, and so on. He simply has not formed those beliefs yet, or is still in the process of forming those beliefs.

Subconsciously, the child will simply form beliefs about himself, based on the feedback from his environment.

If teachers subconsciously behave towards the child in a way consistently with the teacher's belief that the child is smart,

the child will subconsciously pick up on that and believe that he is smart. The child's beliefs (thought) will affect reality, translating into an observable external effect (higher scores on an IQ test).

This doesn't work so easily with older children, because they generally already have formed a strong sense of identity.

For example, in Singapore, by the time they are fifteen or sixteen years old, they will generally be quite convinced that they are "Normal", "Express", "Gifted", "Special", or whatever.

Because the belief is quite strongly ingrained by then, it will be very difficult for a teacher to affect the reality of a "Normal" child and change it into a "Gifted" reality.

Similarly it will be very difficult to affect the reality of a "Gifted" child and change it into a "Normal" reality.

This is because the child's beliefs are already strongly ingrained at a subconscious level. And his thoughts affect his reality, you see.

Of course, if these children understood what Mr Wang is talking about, they could try various different methods of mindhacking themselves and altering their beliefs - their realities would then change.

But mindhacking is still not well-known among the general public.

Henry Leong said...

It is due to causes from the past!

Mr Wang Says So said...

"What about bad experiences? If I were mugged, was it because I thought it upon myself? Or as this latest post implies, someone thought it upon me? Then what about natural disasters? Who thought those up? The victims?"

These are points which I will address in future, in greater detail, using illustrations from, among other things, the concept of karma in Hinduism as well as Buddhism.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Then you claim that behaviour follows automatically from thoughts. Really? I am somewhat skeptical about this."

Which behaviour of yours did not follow from your thought?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Many of you have many questions. Please try not to veer too far from the main post.

"Thought affecting reality" is a vast topic and I promise to address its many different aspects in future posts.

For now, let's talk about children, rats, dogs, cats, teachers, Rosenthal effect, self-beliefs on intellectual ability, etc.

If you have other questions, you can email me and I will address those questions in future posts.

Mr Wang Says So said...

One interesting thing that has come out of all this research is that the effect of who does the teaching is usually bigger than the effect of how one teaches, thus bringing about the question of how important teacher training really is.

That is correct. In other words, experimental results show that:

the teacher who believes the children are smart,

will "produce" the smarter children than

the teacher who does not.

It does not really matter so much what teaching methods are used. In other words, it does not matter whether this teacher or that teacher gives more homework; or uses what textbooks; or emphasises more on rote learning; or emphasises more on group projects; or asks more questions in class, or whatever.

Whatever methods either teacher uses,

the teacher who firmly believes that the children are smart

will "produce" smarter children than the teacher who believes that the children are stupid.

Thought affects reality.

The Uncharted Waters said...

Hi Mr Wang,

Suppose under the same experiment, the children were told and made believed that they had low IQs, while the teacher believed the other way. Since thought affect reality, whose thoughts would affect the reality in this case?

Jimmy Mun said...

A cautionary note to parents and pet owners:

The Inverse Power of Praise


"Since Thomas could walk, he has heard constantly that he’s smart
...
his intelligence was statistically confirmed
...
in the top one percent of the top one percent.

But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,”
...
Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t."

Mindhacking is brain surgery. Proceed with caution.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I hope I will not confuse you.
According to one particular thought theory, "one cannot create in another person's reality."

In other words, my universe is created by my thoughts. Your universe is created by your thoughts. My universe cannot impinge on yours, except to the extent that you think thoughts related to me.

To put it another way, the teacher's beliefs cannot affect the student's reality, except to the extent that the student has allowed his own thinking to be influenced by his own mental perceptions of the teacher's behaviour.

Suppose the student thinks that he is stupid. In his own reality. he will be as stupid as he thinks he is.

Suppose the teacher thinks that this student is smart. In the teacher's reality, this student will be smart.

Suppose the student meets the teacher. Th student begins to perceive that the teacher thinks he's smart.

In the student's own reality, the student will become smart, to the extent that he allows his mental perceptions of the teacher's behaviour to influence him into thinking that maybe he really IS smart.

If the student is very firmly convinced of his own stupidity, then the teacher cannot help him, in the student's own reality. The student will only think, "This teacher is VERY mistaken to think that I am smart."

But of course in the teacher's reality, if the teacher is firmly convinced that the student is smart, then the student will STILL be smart. The teacher will think, "This student just doesn't UNDERSTAND how smart he is. He lacks self-confidence." Or something like that.

Now let's introduce an element of objective criteria into this. The boy takes the IQ test. He gets a certain score, X. The student will have one of the following responses.

If the score is objectively high, and the student FIRMLY believes he's smart, he will think, "There, I knew it. I *am* very smart, I always knew it."

If the score is objectively high, and the student FIRMLY believes he's stupid, he will think, "Haha! What a fluke! I must have been very lucky on the MCQ. Like striking lottery."

If the score is objectively low, and the student FIRMLY believes he's smart, he will think, "No wonder scientists say that IQ tests do not really show how clever a person is. Obviously I am smarter than this score suggests."

If the score is objectively low, and the student FIRMLY believes he's stupid, he will think, "There, I always knew I was stupid."

Of course, thoughts can change. For example, you may think that you're stupid, but then you get a high IQ score. If your self-belief about your own stupidity is not so firm, you will then think, "Oh, maybe I am not so stupid, after all. I'm actually quite smart!" and then you will be on your way to becoming smart.

Your thoughts, you see, create your reality, and when your thoughts change, your reality changes. Your strongest beliefs are the thoughts you hold onto most firmly, and therefore they create those aspects of reality which are most convincing, most "real", to you.

As you can see, barring rare experiences such as enlightenment, each of us is always trapped in our own reality. Our reality is our universe. Our universe is our mind.

There is no escape! Our thoughts create reality. ;)

EP said...

I don't think your intepretation of the Pygmalion effect is consistent with the current scientific consensus on the subject.

This is not about "thoughts affecting reality". It is about "thoughts influencing actions (including subconscious non-verbal cues), and said actions influencing reality".

Occam's razor should apply whenever we are in doubt. ("All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.")

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Jimmy,

A lot of my friends are like the Thomases you mentioned. The problem of gifted children doing only what they excel at is something very common in our society.

I know this genius who is a savant at card games but has not found a job 2 years after graduation. I guess he can't own his colleagues the same way he does against his card game opponents.

Regards

Jimmy Mun said...

Chris,

I only need to look in the mirror to find a Thomas. You have no idea how a little exam ingenuity at a young age destroys work ethic.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"thoughts influencing actions (including subconscious non-verbal cues), and said actions influencing reality".

Certainly that is one way to look at it. I am offering you an alternative perspective on the same thing.

There is no "action" you take, which is not motivated or influenced by your "thought". "Action" includes "subconscious non-verbal cues".

YOu can know no "reality" except what you perceive through your senses and interpret with your mind. Therefore "reality" is merely your mind's interpretation of reality.

Put it all together into your equation, and once again you'll see that thought affects reality.

Mr Wang Says So said...

("All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.")

Occam's Razor could be right. If you apply it fully to your earlier formulation, the formulation actually becomes not:

"Thought affects reality"

nor even:

"Thought creates reality"

but simply:

"Thought is reality".

Seriously. Go think about it (no pun intended).

Mr Wang Says So said...

In a future post, I will discuss the article linked by Jimmy.

Henry Leong said...

I don't think overpraising a child is good it might had an averse effect.

The teacher needs to find more ways to challenge, stimulate and discover the potentials of the child.

Mr Wang Says So said...

In a nutshell, what went right here is that the child developed a belief that he was very smart (therefore he became very smart).

What went wrong here was that the child developed a belief that to get approval/love, he cannot be seen not to be smart (therefore he avoids all situations where he may be perceived by others not to be smart).

From a mindhacking perspective, Mr Wang would recommend hacking away the 2nd belief but leaving the 1st belief alone.

persistently deluded said...

so..

how do we draw the line between self-belief and delusion? Are we to say that there's ABSOLUTELY no such thing as self-delusion?

I've seen friends and people slog very hard in their school work. Work persistently hard. They truly they believe they can do well one day. But, it all come down to tatters. On the other hand, I've also seen people who don't really give a hell about school work but still score very well, and some instances, scoring well in subjects they hate.

angry doc said...

It's simple, persistently deluded:

If a person succeeds, then he must have *really* believed he could succeed.

If a person fails, then he must have *not really* believed he could succeed.

7366 said...

and this is exactly why streaming is not a wise idea in our education system. We are competently reinforcing the expectations of the academically brighter students to achieve whilst denigrating and impeding progress of students in the weaker streams.

Its sad when the same schools tell one side of the entire cohort that they can do anything they want to succeed in life and tell the other side of the cohort that they'll never succeed, are failures in society and can never make it in life. Personally, I'm not in favor of streaming, because it benefits a few and marginalizes the majority.

Yau-ming's blog!! said...

hey Angry Doctor, don't you think that some form of positive thinking helps? You can't generalize it- but speaking positive encouraging words to people- generally brings about a positive change in the person's mindset. If you constantly condemn a child- and discourage him/her - its going to most likely have a negative effect on their upbringing. Maybe, a few children will say, bullshit, I'm not stupid and strive harder- but the majority will succumb.

Have you heard of how doctors' who hold pessimistic views of their patients' chances for recovery - usually get the same bad results. Tell a man, he's got 4 months to live- and quite often he will die at the "right time".

angry doc said...

I don't think it's important whether I think "some form of positive thinking helps" because that isn't Mr Wang's claim here.

(And if you are interested, Mr Wang's underlying claim and my reason for disputing it can be found in the comments section of the last seven posts.)

"Have you heard of how doctors' who hold pessimistic views of their patients' chances for recovery - usually get the same bad results. Tell a man, he's got 4 months to live- and quite often he will die at the "right time"."

Faulty logic, yau-ming. By using the word 'pessimistic' you are already assuming that the doctor was wrong and the patient really *should have* lived longer. Is it not equally possible that the doctor was remarkably accurate at prognosticating, and that the patient did die at, like you said, the right time?

PZ said...

Angry Doc wrote:

"Is it not equally possible that the doctor was remarkably accurate at prognosticating, and that the patient did die at, like you said, the right time?"
_____________

No.

This theory cannot be disputed because the underlying logic is self-proving.

Although stated as "belief-outcome" the logic underlying the explanation is really effect-cause (outcome-belief).

If the patient outlives the time given, then he must have *disbelieved* the doctor.

If he died as prognosed, then he must have *believed* the doctor.

If he had been hit by a truck and died even earlier, he must have *disbelieved* the doctor.

If he had survived the truck accident only to die as prognosed then he must have *believed* the doctor.

If he had been miraculously cured then he must really, really, really, truly believed that he would not die.

PZ

Anonymous said...

"In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a child may be unwittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability, while a teacher who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even further."

When I read the above line at the bottom of page 3 of the link given by Jimmy Mun, I laughed so hard that I almost have tears!

Isn't that what the Chinese have been saying and doing for the past 2000 years?

We all know that China is the first culture in the world that selects its government officials via examinations and so the Chinese have thousands of years of experience on how to motivate people to do well in exams so as to earn big money! There must have been some truth when they emphasise on drilling it into the mind of students that "you must all work hard", rather than "you are all very smart"

But alas, in the most recent 40 years, what has worked well for 2000 years is discredited and a new Ang Moh teaching came along that teaches the contrary: "you are smart. You are special. Everyone is special!!!"

And so, since China was so down trodden (well, at least 40 yrs ago, it was), we all become very westernised and many "modern" singaporeans adopt the western method over the tried and tested eastern tradition. Many of us started to blame our parents and our teachers for criticising us (for not working hard enough), and we complain about teachers who are so "old-fashioned" that they did not praise the students (for being "smart"). Some of us even emigrate so that our children can study in the "enlightened" western education system where "everyone is special"!


Look what happen now! ONE FULL CIRCLE! Hey, western psychologists have now finally realised that praising people as smart will lead to worse grades, whereas emphasising that success is due to hard work leads to better performance! We are now back to square one - the square that our grandparents have "mind hacked" our parents and our parents have "mind hacked" us:

If you WORK HARD you can succeed and everything is possible!

You are NOT smart, but that's ok. Just work 10 times harder than someone who is "smart", and you will catch up or even surpass him



Moral of the story: Theories come, theories go. Better to trust ancient wisdom that have survive 2000 years of common sense and "social evolution" lah! Remember: when it come to how to study and how to get good results, a culture that emphases on exams being the key to money and status, have more good advice to follow than a culture that emphasised bloodline as being more important to gain high post!


犬守夜 雞司晨 苟不學 曷為人
蠶吐絲 蜂釀蜜 人不學 不如物

"The dog guards the night, the rooster announce the arrival of dawn. If you refuse to STUDY HARD, you are not fit to call yourself a human. Silkworm weave silk, bees make honey. If you resfuse to STUDY HARD, you are worse than these HARWORKING animals!"

勤有功 戲無益 戒之哉 宜勉力

"WORKING HARD brings merit, merry making is of no use. Remember that and WORK HARD"!

Now, that, in my opinion, is the correct way to mind hack, rather than the "I am smart, I am special" hogwash!

(Btw, that's the 3-character primer -- the very 1st mind-hacking book that chinese kindergarteners study since ancient times)

Anonymous said...

Mind hacking is important, in the context of exam, but the correct mind hacking should not be:

"I am smart, so I can achieve anything I want".

It should be:

"So long as I work very hard, I can achieve anything I want"!

The former lead to:
1. Children wanting to maintain image of smartness leading to risk-averse behaviour

2. Children not putting in enough effort since they think they are already very smart.

3. Children not putting enough effort because putting in effort implies they are not clever enough.

As for the latter? Well, it lead to only 1 thing: success in life!


There, I have summarised Jimmy Mun's link for everyone :)

Actually it is common sense, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

“The key is intermittent reinforcement,” says Cloninger. The brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. “A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear.”

That's at the bottom of page 4 of that link. I think in the Sg context, it basically means this:

Stop praising our kids daily that they are smart, for every small insignificant homework that they bring home! Instead, praise our kids only once in a blue moon, like how our parents used to praise us! In fact, throw away the western child-rearing books that teach us such outdated ideas. Turn instead to our parents and tell them that they have brought us up right, and thank them for their very sparing praise!!!

Haha! One Full circle!

Anonymous said...

"In a nutshell, what went right here is that the child developed a belief that he was very smart (therefore he became very smart)".

That's not my conclusion after reading that link by Jimmy Mun. I think it is the other way round:

In a nutshell, what went wrong here is that the child developed a belief that he was very smart, therefore (a) he no longer put in enough effort (b) become risk-averse so as to appear smart, and therefore became a failure in life!

I think what the article advocates is to developed the belief that hard work is the key to success, as opposed to smartness. And I agree with the article.

Henry Leong said...

The chinese had develop an orderly system of respecting the elderly, it had it merit.

But the overemphasis of it might deter innovations and creativity.

Anonymous said...

henry,
I was talking about the Chinese way of mind hacking by emphasizing "hard work" and by criticism, versus the western "You are smart" way. You are talking about "orderly system of respecting the elderly". Dont you think you are off topic? :)

Henry Leong said...

I agreed with you hard work is important, some work very hard but end up in bankrupt. There are also other factors.

Creativity and innovations are also crucial to a person success.

Anonymous said...

Henry,
Why divert topic to "other factors" such as "creativity and innovation"? We are talking about mind hacking the thought of "I am smart so I can succeed" VERSUS the thought of "I can succeed because I work hard". That follows from what Jimmy Mum linked. That's all. Did I ever say creativity and innovation are not important? Did I say respect for the elderly is good or bad? You sure have a way of starting a debate with things that others did not disagree or even talk about! keke

Mr Wang Says So said...

Some readers here are getting mixed up between hard work and intelligence. Both are useful attributes; neither are mutually exclusive.

Eg you can be smart and hardworking; smart and lazy; stupid and hardworking; or stupid and lazy.

Suppose you need to study eight hours for a test to score a B.

If you were smarter than you are, you could study, say, four hours, and still get a B.

Or you could study eight hours, and get an A.

That of course is the meaning of smart.

In fact, "chao mugger" is a term in local parlance to describe those who achieve academic success through sheer hard work, and not much intelligence.

We can look at it this way - "hardworking" can be measured by the number of hours you are willing to work.

"Smart" can be measured by the amount of learning you get out of each hour of work.

They are different attributes.

Anyway, if you are lazy, it is also possible to alter your beliefs or change your thoughts such that you become more hardworking.

The difference between a lazy person and a hardworking person is, after all, the difference between what goes on in their respective heads.

All your actions, after all, stem from your thoughts. You can have no action without thought. Your actions affect reality. Therefore your thoughts affect reality. Change your thoughts, and reality will __________.

There is no escape!

Mr Wang Says So said...

"I think what the article advocates is to developed the belief that hard work is the key to success, as opposed to smartness"

Nope.

What the article tells you is that if you structure your approval/praise such that the child gets approval/praise for being hardworking, then the child will want to be hardworking. Let's call this child the "1st Kid".

It also tells you is that if you structure your approval/praise such that the child gets approval/praise for being smart, then the child will want to be smart. Let's call this child the "2nd kid".

What happens next is that both kids may get it into their heads that they can be loved/approved only if they are hardworking, or smart, respectively.

(A) The 1st kid will then start avoiding situations where he may be perceived not to be hardworking.

(B) The 2nd kid will then start avoiding situations where he may be perceived not to be smart.

The article dwells on the potential disadvantages of (B).

The article did not explore the potential disadvantages of (A) - eg a person who is overdriven, does not know how to relax, becomes obsessive about one area of his life (eg career) and ends up neglecting other areas.

My simple point is that all beliefs, carried to extremes, attract consequences which you, on further reflection, may not think are very positive.

That is why mindhacking is, in my subjective opinion, usually best carried out in small doses. You adjust your beliefs little by little, watch the effects, and then adjust a little more, and see if what you get is really what you want.

By the way, also in my subjective opinion, the best way to raise your kids is to let them know that you will love them no matter what. Whether they are stupid or smart or lazy or hardworking, you will love them.

This creates happy little human beings, with optimal emotional health, and with optimal emotional health, human beings naturally start growing in positive directions.

Henry Leong said...

I agree with you work hard also need to work smart.

BTH said...

anonymous
"We are talking about mind hacking the thought of "I am smart so I can succeed"

Puhleeez lah. When will you guys get it?

This is just another pop-pseudo-science fad that has been designed to sell books, conduct seminars and workshops and make you part with your hard earned money so that this genius guru can make lots of money.

Can get a clue or not?

Wah lau! Truly believe only can affect outcome.

China has produced many Olympic champions over the decades, in gymnastics, swimming, table tennis etc. Clearly they are not short of "positive thinkers" shall I say. I shudder to use the word "mindhacking" so won't.

Now consider this, why no Gold medal in the 100M?

Could it be that genetic research scientists have discovered that ALL the finalists of the last 5 Olympiads are not only blacks but they all have their ancestry in the same remote place in Africa? They have calculated the statistical odds of this happening in a global population of over 6 billion as 0.00000000000001.

So science is saying heredity and genetics play a very strong part in sprinting abilities and winning the Olympic Gold medal.

WTF! But this theory will have you believe that all it takes to win is to mindhack your way to the 100M finals. *Anyone* can truly believe and voila!.

Yeah rite.

Those true believers of this theory please arrange to meet me because I have a bridge in the Arizona Desert I wish to sell you.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Thank you for your interesting comment. Yes, as a matter of fact, the use of hypnosis is very common among world-class athletes.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are the most famous examples, but there are actually many others. In fact, sporting delegations of serious Olympic nations always travel to the Olympic Games with their hypnotists.

This isn't anything new either. It started happening decades ago, for top-level sporting competitions. Here is a little bit of information to get you started, if you wish to know more about the use of hypnosis among top athletes:

"......... Although the amazing power of hypnosis for athletes has been largely overlooked in the U.S. until recently, for years Eastern European nations have been realizing the tremendous difference that sports hypnosis can have on athletic performance. In the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the Russians brought a team of eleven hypnotists with them, to instill confidence and the will to win in the Russian athletes. We all know how powerful the Russian teams have been over the years.

In the 1988 Seoul Summer Games, the power of hypnosis on focus and performance was displayed beautifully when Olympic diver Greg Louganis hit his head on the board while performing a complicated dive during the 3 meter final. In what is considered one of the greatest feats in sporting history, Louganis, his head gushing blood, had the wound treated while he put earphones on to listen to hypnosis tapes. Amazingly, Greg then went out to score a perfect dive the second time, enough to earn him the gold medal.

...... Specific examples of the use of the unique power of these techniques, are: quarterbacks developing imagery, footwork and anxiety control during oncoming rushes; basketball players increasing their free throw percentage, police Olympic shooters dramatically improving their accuracy, tennis players skyrocketing their intensity, confidence and strength during changeovers, golfers learning to ignore past errors and stayed in the moment on each hole, hockey players visualizing setting up scoring plays during their shifts, and athletes with chronic, debilitating pain learning how to actually eliminate their pain ..."

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=25458

This doesn't interest me much, because I am not particularly interested in sports. Most likely I will not blog about these aspects of sports & mindhacking in future, unless you readers display a lot of interest.

Henry Leong said...

My ideas on how to find the next Singapore Olympic champion:
http://henryleonghimwoh.blogspot.com/search/label/Olympic%20champions

BTH said...

Mr.Wang said:

"Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are the most famous examples, but there are actually many others. In fact, sporting delegations of serious Olympic nations always travel to the Olympic Games with their hypnotists."

I do not disagree that sports psychology can help athletes perform better.

I am not saying this. I did not say this. Dare I say, this is a mere straw-man fallacy Mr. Wang?

This mindhacking theory discounts the many other factors that affect outcome. Take the example of the 100M Finals in the Olympics.

It's preposterous to conclude that all one needs is to mindhack your way to anything.

zhixiang said...

mindhacking is very subjective.

like a religion, it instill strong elements of faith and beliefs which are required for success and "miracles".

perhaps those who read Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Secrets of a Millionaire and 7 habits of highly effective people will have a better understanding how mindhacking aka auto-suggestion aka paradigms works.

PZ said...

BTH wrote:

"It's preposterous to conclude that all one needs is to mindhack your way to anything."
________________

No.

If you truly believe it will happen. It's all in the mind.

A cow armed with mindhacking CAN run like a thoroughbred and win the Kentucky State Derby.

Why?

Because, the very moment the mind focuses, the universe splits into many universes with infinite possibilities. It's all explained in QM.

Delusionally yours,
PZ

angry doc said...

Gee, PZ, you are right!

I'd better start telling all my cancer patients they will live forever...

persistently deluded said...

That's my question that remain unanswered.

What constitutes self-belief that resulted in reality?

Where do we draw the line between belief and delusion?

persistently deluded said...

I think my question is important. Otherwise, there is no element of understanding in all the talk here; The difference between understanding and pretending to understand.

Certainly, no one has ever escaped death (because they don't believe enough?). There are counter-examples of people who wants to die, and believe they are going to die, in a disaster or in a hospital struggling with pain, but do not die.

Or how about believing that you will jump (i mean jump without any aid, just jump) your way out of Earth?

PZ said...

persistently deluded said...

"That's my question that remain unanswered.

What constitutes self-belief that resulted in reality?

Where do we draw the line between belief and delusion?"
___________________

The answer depends on whether you are asking from the standpoint of science, pseudo science or metaphysics.

Currently, this thread is weaving in and out with so many knots that it could possibly be worth more than a Persian rug weaved by a master weaver.

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

If we begin with the basic Buddhist premise that all of reality is basically illusion created by mind:

then the only limits on what you can do to your reality by altering your thoughts

are simply the limits to your ability to alter your thoughts.

This should not be interpreted as - "It is remarkably easy to get, be or do anything I want. All I need to do is think about it."

Such a conclusion, which seems sharply at odds with your understanding of reality, is what you leads you to scoff - "How can that be possible?"

The thing is, it is NOT remarkably easy, at least not for most people, to control or alter their thoughts.

The reason, as all meditators quickly discover when they start exploring their own consciousness, is that most of us have very little control over our thoughts.

Contrary to what we believe, the general position is that our thoughts control us, and not the other way around.

In an earlier post, for example, someone commented that it is just about impossible to think about nothing, or just focus on one thing (eg a candle flame) during meditation, even for one minute.

All kinds of thoughts will crawl out from your head. You can't stop them even if you wanted to. In fact they crawl out before you even realise that they have crawled out. Instead of meditating, you may have been thinking random thoughts for two whole minutes, before even realising that you have been thinking random thoughts for the past two minutes.

In another everyday example, the next time you're driving alone, just stop yourself for a moment, and ask yourself what you were thinking then. And what you were thinking just before that, and before that, and before that.

What you will realise is that your thoughts were probably floating everywhere.

For example, you may have been thinking about why there is so much traffic on the road today. Then your thought will drift to how much better traffic used to be, on that other route to your old workplace. Then you will start thinking about your ex-colleague at that old workplace. You recall that he has emigrated to Australia. Suddenly you will start thinking about how nice it would be to take a holiday to Australia, or perhaps New Zealand, or maybe Japan. Then suddenly you see a pedestrian cross the road and she looks a lot like your Auntie Grace. You start thinking about Auntie Grace .......

That is how our brains work most of the time. They are on auto-pilot. It is very difficult for most of us to control our thoughts. Therefore deliberately altering our thougts to affect our reality is difficult.

Need another example? Student sits down to study. Despite best intentions, he can't concentrate. One hour later, he suddenly realises that he's still looking at the same page and still stuck on the sixth paragraph. His mind has been floating everywhere. He can;'t even remember what was going through his mind in the past 60 minutes.

His thoughts have been affecting reality - but there was no conscious creation.

One more example. Love relationship gone bust. You dumped her, she dumped you, whatever. Anyway, it's all over. The logical part of your mind says, "Come on, just stop thinking aboout her, and move on." Very logical, very right. You can't do it. You try, but you simply can't. Your mind keeps going back to her and visiting memories of your past relationship. You experience sadness, grief, anger etc etc - all of which are processes of consciousness.

Now, from the Rosenthal experiment, we theorise that if we simply believe that we are very smart, we will be.

But suppose that you have always believed that you were, umm, quite average, or even below average.

Can you simply choose to believe otherwise? Could you say, "From today onwards, I'll just believe that I'm smart?" ... and actually do it?

Well, the answer is - it depends. Some individuals can more easily change their beliefs than others. In every case, it also depends on the subject matter of the belief.

For example, suppose you've always thought that you're not very smart and not very cute. Then you get a new girlfriend. She says: "I think you're so smart & so cute!"

Your beliefs could change, but they could change in various ways. For example, you could start believing that:

you are smart and cute

you are smart but not cute

you are not smart, but cute

you are not smart, and not cute, and your girlfriend is an idiot to think otherwise.

The thing is, if you start believing that you really ARE cute, your subconscious mind starts kicking in and without realising it, your behaviour will shift. You will start behaving in ways that your subconscious mind considers "cute".

And if you start believing that you really ARE cute, your subconscious mind starts kicking in and without realising it, your behaviour will shift. You will start behaving in ways that your subconscious mind considers "smart".

In either case, you would start being and doing cute/smart things that you never thought possible/probable/plausible for yourself before. Things which you may never have even THOUGHT of before.

In fact, you could say that ALL aspects of personality are just the result of thoughts.

For example, Andrew is careful, cautious, mild-mannered, helpful, a little timid.

Peter is fun-loving, spontaneous, outgoing, a bit of a flirt.

Kelvin is moody, hot-tempered, not given to talking much, with a strong sense of principles and what's right amd wrong.

Where do these differences spring from? It's all from what goes on in their heads. If all of them could change their thoughts, Andrew could become like Peter; Peter could become like Kelvin; Kelvin could become Andrew.

Let me put it in even most drastic terms:

the only true difference between you and the happiest person on the planet lies only in how your two heads think differently

the only true difference between you and the bravest person on the planet lies only in how your two heads think differently

the only true difference between you and the smartest person on the planet lies only in how your two heads think differently.

What if you could deliberately change your thoughhts?

What if you DID start doing so?

Remember - we all have this ability, it's just that some of us have more of it than others; AND this ability can, in any event, be increased with practice.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, over weeks, months, years.

Seriously, what do you think would happen to your reality?

zhixiang said...

to persistently deluded:

***
Certainly, no one has ever escaped death (because they don't believe enough?). There are counter-examples of people who wants to die, and believe they are going to die, in a disaster or in a hospital struggling with pain, but do not die.
***

a dying christian strong believes he is going to heaven to meet his heavenly father and the holy spirits, didnt really "died".

his physical body may have malfunctioned but his spirit lives on. very much like heroes. their legacy lives on and heroes really never "died".

how do u define the state of being alive?

one's strong beliefs or body?

Piper said...

I noticed something about all these posts on "mindhacking". When challenged, the replies from Mr Wang never seems to actually deal with the issues.

For example, I said that further studies couldn't replicate Rosenthal's study. This suggests that there are factors that are not known as yet. The reply I got was

Correct. Among other things, the older the children are, the more difficult it becomes to observe the Rosenthal effect.

When studies are replicated, often the subjects are similar not of different ages. It is not an extension of the study. It is a replication. So the question of why the study is not always successfully replicated is not answered.

(Btw, some of the studies on the Pygmalion effect on university students did actually produce results which support this theory)

Again, when bth asks about sports, Mr Wang's answer does not address the question. How is sports psychology the same as "mindhacking" as Mr Wang defines it?

According to a previous post, "mindhacking" is "a collection of methods, techniques and processes whereby you will alter the way you think." Now I suppose "mindhacking" is perfectly acceptable - I do not deny that people's thoughts and perception can be modified. But then it is in another post that Mr Wang says "This [every thought has karmic consequences] is a universal law of cause and effect. Your thoughts and intentions are the cause of everything that happens in your life."

Putting this two together, one can see that Mr Wang advocates that your life is a result of what you think and thus "mindhacking" can change your life, ie: thoughts will change your reality. But when challenged, starts talking about actions flowing from thought - something which was not mentioned in your intial theory.

Well, some of my thoughts become action, some of my thoughts stay as thoughts. For example, I have thought a lot about leaving a comment many, many times over the past week, but I did not. Perhaps, you could argue then that my thoughts on not writing comments were stronger and purer than my thoughts of doing so.

Then again, if I believe strongly that thoughts cannot affect reality, then thoughts cannot affect reality right, since my thoughts will affect reality?

persistently deluded said...

oh yes, when i mean death, i mean the pt of time where the 'soul' is no longer with the 'body'.

And that's still the qn: No one has ever used his 'mental power' to make his soul in nv leaving his body.

Or is it just that it's too difficult for everybody?

Yau-ming's blog!! said...

To Angry Doctor- so in your world- everything can be explained.

I guess even for issues like Sponteneous Healing. You totally disregard them 1000%.

Surely, there is some room in your mind for doubt and mystery.

zhixiang said...

to persistently deluded:

***
No one has ever used his 'mental power' to make his soul in nv leaving his body.
***

of course. mindhacking works only when the brain is still alive. the doctors may have certified a patient's dead, but if he mindhacked himself, maybe moments before death, into believing that he's just sleeping, he's at greater peace. death will be perceived as pleasurable instead of punishments.

angry doc said...

No, yau-ming, not everything can be explained. I never made that claim, nor does science that it can explain everything.

However, there are claims that can be tested, and claims that cannot be tested.

The claim that mindhacking can make the universe deliver everything you want to you *if* you knew how to do it is an untestable claim because one can always explain away failures with 'belief not strong enough' since there is no objective measure of the 'strength' of belief other than its outcome.

Now if a claim cannot be tested, how do you know that it's true? Faith? Intuition? What if someone else makes a claim that is contrary and mutually exclusive to your claim, and uses faith or intuition to back his claim? Whose faith or intuition is correct?

PZ said...

Piper said...

"I noticed something about all these posts on "mindhacking". When challenged, the replies from Mr Wang never seems to actually deal with the issues."

To be fair, most of the time he does make sound rebuttals. Occasionally, however, he weaves and dodge and slips a strawman into his argument and gets away with it because no one calls him on it. I am glad BTH didn't let him get away this time. ;-)

That he has still to rebut BTH's counter argument speaks for itself.

"Again, when bth asks about sports, Mr Wang's answer does not address the question. How is sports psychology the same as "mindhacking" as Mr Wang defines it"

You have missed the point.

It doesn't really matter how these various *psychological tools* - hypnosis, mindhacking, sports psychology or other mind "kong tau" are related to one another. They can assist in improving say, your athletic performance.

The illogic of Mr. Wang's theory is to streeeetch this *truth* such that "thought theories" or *psychological tools* can help you achieve ANY outcome.

It simply cannot.

I would make a wager to challenge any mindhacking guru that he cannot produce any Singaporean 100M Olympic champion.

It would be futile because if he cannot prove it then it's all the fault of the athlete because he did not really believe.

You can't disprove this theory because it speaks the language of sophistry, not logic and reason. More importantly, this theory rests not on provable causality but mere self-*proving* explanations.

PZ

angry doc said...

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Piper said...

PZ,

You are right. I do agree that Mr Wang does actually make good rebuttals. So I apologise for that. I suspect it is the topic which annoys me greatly.

I am in Australia right now and The Secret is huge here. It's similar to what Mr Wang is proposing I guess. I don't like the implications of it for one thing.

I also understand this cannot be proven which annoys me as well because Mr Wang has dipped into Buddhism, QM and now psychology to provide "evidence" that this view is true. Or at least that is what it seems to me.

Mr Wang Says So said...

You have to understand that this topic is very vast and there are many different aspects to it.

As I have already told Angry Doc about three posts earlier, he has to be patient.

Mr Wang will blog more and more in future, explaining different aspects of how "thoughts affect reality".

When I feel that I have blogged enough about this idea, and have clarified sufficiently how all of this works,

then I will invite all interested readers to participate in an experiment;

over the period of, say, one month;

during which they will periodically blog their progress and results on their own blogs,

I will guide them on the experimental methodology;

and then they can judge for themselves whether Mr Wang is right or not.

But first, you must understand what Mr Wang is talking about (whether you believe in it or not). Hence Mr Wang needs to blog more first.

In fact, whether Mr Wang is right or not is not the point. The point is whether you will acquire invaluable, practical insights to shape and influence your own reality the way you want it.

The experiment will cost you no money; require you to do nothing hazardous to your health; or anything embarassing in public; and it will take only about 10 to 15 minutes of your time every day, or a total of 7.5 hours in a month. And one way or the other, the only person you need to convince is yourself - it is after all your own reality. And if you feel that there are gaps in my proposed methodology, it is entirely possible for you to change the methodology for your own little experiment and faithfully record the changes on your own blog.

So the greatest possible loss to you is only 7.5 hours; the greatest possible gain is very, very great indeed - is there any possible logical reason why you would not participate?

Ah yes, there is. You DARE not face the possibility that reality is an illusion.

Little cowards, hahaaa.

Anyway, be patient, that is what Mr Wang is telling you now.

As for BTH, I did not evade any question. My response to him was here:

"If we begin with the basic Buddhist premise that all of reality is basically illusion created by mind:

then the only limits on what you can do to your reality by altering your thoughts

are simply the limits to your ability to alter your thoughts.

This should not be interpreted as - "It is remarkably easy to get, be or do anything I want. All I need to do is think about it."

Such a conclusion, which seems sharply at odds with your understanding of reality, is what you leads you to scoff - "How can that be possible?"

The thing is, it is NOT remarkably easy, at least not for most people, to control or alter their thoughts ..."
etc etc etc.

Jon said...

I'm not sure what's the fuss all about.

I think Mr Wang raises a great point - that mindhacking is a very useful tool (holding all else equal), but many readers seem to be nitpicking over minor details.

As an analogy, Mr Wang is saying that vitamins will do good for your body.

The absurd line of argument from the critics here is "If I take vitamin but engage in other strange behavior (such as stop eating food and start jumping off from tall building), are you sure my body will be better off?"

BTH said...

Mr. Wang: As for BTH, I did not evade any question. My response to him was here:

"If we begin with the basic Buddhist premise that all of reality is basically illusion created by mind:

Err, I did not ask any question let alone a spiritual one.

You really mean zhijiang...

Mr Wang Says So said...

Since you possess the desire that Mr Wang answer your questions, and your desire is after all thought, a rather strong one, so the universe shall oblige, and here are Mr Wang;'s answers to your questions:

"Putting this two together, one can see that Mr Wang advocates that your life is a result of what you think and thus "mindhacking" can change your life, ie: thoughts will change your reality. But when challenged, starts talking about actions flowing from thought - something which was not mentioned in your intial theory.

You misunderstand. Thoughts affect reality, and your reality includes your own physical actions

but certainly your reality does not include ONLY your own physical actions; but also various aspects as well;

and when I say "thoughts affect reality", I mean that your thoughts affect every part of reality that is relevant to that thought;

which may include your own physical actions; or other things external to yourself; or both.

As I have already explained, "self" itself is an illusion - you are NOT separate from the rest of reality; that is a basic idea in Buddhism.

"Well, some of my thoughts become action, some of my thoughts stay as thoughts. For example, I have thought a lot about leaving a comment many, many times over the past week, but I did not. Perhaps, you could argue then that my thoughts on not writing comments were stronger and purer than my thoughts of doing so."

Correct. That is also why in mindhacking, we do not deal with "single" thoughts - we also deal with "limiting beliefs";

for example, if your desire is to be smart, it is not an optimal approach to simply deliberately think "I am smart" -

what is important is also to identify your unconscious beliefs why you are not smart, eg

"when I was a little kid, everyone said that my brother was the clever one"

or

"I am a Normal stream student, and Normal students can't be smart"

and then you systematically adjust, attack, revise or remove those limiting beliefs as well.

"Then again, if I believe strongly that thoughts cannot affect reality, then thoughts cannot affect reality right, since my thoughts will affect reality?"

If you are firmly of the belief that thoughts cannot affect reality, then in your reality, you will perceive nothing that shows that thoughts can affect reality;

and since you cannot know reality except through (1) what you perceive and (2) how you interpret your perceptions,

then yes,

effectively, in your reality, thoughts cannot affect reality.

To understand this better, you may wish to reread my comment at June 26, 2007 2:20 PM, using the example of the student and his teacher.

angry doc said...

Wrong, Jon.

Mr Wang's claim is:

"Therefore if you are sufficiently skilled and adept at choosing and controlling your thoughts, the universe will deliver to you what you want.

You may hold a certain intention; you may have no idea of what to do to make it come true; you may in fact not even have gotten around to taking a single step of concrete action to make it happen;

but if you are sufficiently skilled at holding that intention,

the universe will make it happen, in the same way that it makes every other karmic consequence happen -

by sending the relevant events, circumstances, people, opportunities, miracles etc"

If you want to use the vitamin analogy, what Mr Wang is essentially claiming is:

"This vitamin can cure all illnesses."

BTH said...

Jon said...

"many readers seem to be nitpicking over minor details."

I consider his claim that mindhacking can make the universe deliver everything you want to you *if* you knew how to do it, a BOLD and MAJOR statement.

I also questioned his faulty logic and reasoning FUNDAMENTAL to his theory.

If you find this nitpicking, it's obvious that we are speaking from two different universes.

"As an analogy, Mr Wang is saying that vitamins will do good for your body.

The absurd line of argument from the critics here is "If I take vitamin but engage in other strange behavior (such as stop eating food and start jumping off from tall building), are you sure my body will be better off?"

Yours is a false analogy, completely alien to what have been discussed. And like you said, quite absurd.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Thank you for reproducing that excerpt. It is timely, in view of the fact that we are speaking of the Rosenthal experiment.

As I had mentioned earlier, if the teachers had been told, "Your objective is to increase the kids' IQ by x points in eight months"

they would have said, "I do not know how to do so."

But if the teachers were TRICKED, as indeed they were, into falsely believing that the kids ARE smart,

the teachers would INDEED be able, as the experiment demonstrated, to bring about that increase in IQ.

Yet if you asked them how they did this, as they were indeed asked at the end of the Rosenthal experiment, they would not be able to tell you how. They had simply taught the way they had always taught.

Now, look back at what Mr Wang had written:

"You may hold a certain intention; you may have no idea of what to do to make it come true; you may in fact not even have gotten around to taking a single step of concrete action to make it happen;

but if you are sufficiently skilled at holding that intention,

the universe will make it happen ..."

do you begin to see?

Mr Wang Says So said...

To use the vitamin analogy, I would say this:

"If you know how to manufacture, mix and match the right medicines, you can cure virtually all diseases."

angry doc said...

'virtually all'?

What ever happened to simple *everything*?

Henry Leong said...

Mr Wang can your mindhacking technique cure mental illness?

Mr Wang Says So said...

I say "virtually all", because there are some "diseases" of which you may not wish to be cured.

A simple example would be death. Could you live forever? - seems to be the obvious question.

Would you want to live forever - is actually the better question that you would eventually come to.

But Mr Wang shall address these, and other questions in future.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Mr Wang can your mindhacking technique cure mental illness?"

It is curious that you should ask, because this very afternoon, someone invited me to be a volunteer at IMH, to help run recreational activities for the patients.

Actually it is not curious. It is only a small example of what one of the founding fathers of modrn psychology, Professor Carl Jung, termed "synchronicity"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

"Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them. The events would also have to suggest some underlying pattern in order to satisfy the definition of synchronicity as originally developed by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

Carl Jung coined the word to describe what he called "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events." Jung variously described synchronicity as an "'acausal connecting principle'" (i.e. a pattern of connection that cannot be explained by direct causality), "meaningful coincidence" and "acausal parallelism". Jung introduced the concept in his 1952 paper "Synchronicity — An Acausal Connecting Principle", though he had been considering the concept for almost thirty years.[1]

It differs from mere coincidence in that synchronicity implies not just a happenstance, but an underlying pattern or dynamic expressed through meaningful relationships or events."

---

Poor Jung! If only he had considered quantum physics. He would have realised that his concept of synchronicity is strikingly similar to

the principle of nonlocality in quantum physics.

How is synchronicity connected to "thoughts affect reality"?

Basically, a synchronicity is when Event A occurs, and then immediately Event B occurs,

and both Event A and Event B are meaningfully connected

and yet there is no "logical" explanation of how Event A and Event B caused each other, or were caused by a similar other cause.

For example, the teacher falsely believes one student is smart, and then the student becomes smart. Etc.

scb said...

It seems (I think and therefore....) there are quite a lot of delusions and some illations in these discussions. piper(26 June 2007 10:22 am) asked, "Then what about disasters? Who thought those up? The victims?" Good questions; piper! I think disasters and destructions are realities. It is not whether the victims 'thought' them up (ridiculous), it is why those who "could see the future" did not disclose and forewarn the victims! Ain't saving live a divine deed? From an atheist; regards.

Mr Wang Says So said...

As I have said, all in good time. You shall have to be patient.

In the meantime, though, I will simply provide a link

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/158/story_15871_1.html

The question could actually be asked in other ways eg:

"If there is God and He is good, why should natural disasters occur and hurt people?"

Superficially, it appears that there are only a few possible answers:

1. there is no God

or

2. God is bad

ah, but that is if you're superficial.

Once again, this goes far beyond the scope of the present post, so I shall not discuss it further.

Readers with burning questions are once again invited to email me, and I will address their questions in future posts.

PZ said...

Mr. Wang wrote in part:

"If there is God and He is good, why should natural disasters occur and hurt people?"

"Superficially, it appears that there are only a few possible answers:

1. there is no God

or

2. God is bad

ah, but that is if you're superficial."
__________________

"Superficial?"

Actually, the language of logic and reason isn't superficial not unlike questions in scientific inquiry - "question, hypothesise, test and verify? Surely a positive attribute acknowledged by the Buddha himself. Nein?

Also, this tone smacks a wee condescending ... What was it about ego in Buddhistic teaching again? :-)

I am curious whether you are tackling this question in the form of the "paradox of evil " from the Judaic, Christian perspective and then introduce the concept of Free Will?

PZ

Anonymous said...

KAMMA 101a - Not everything you experience is due to your past life!

Alas, the previous 3 comment stray away from Rosenthal's effect into Buddhism yet again! In particular, Mr. Wang provided a link to this Robert Thurman who said "[kamma] says that anything bad that happens to you is a resonance of something bad that you perpetrated in a previous life".

This Robert Thurman, in spite of his supposedly impressive(??) credential is wrong! That's not how the Buddha taught. On the contrary, the Buddha taught that "the present experience of pleasure and pain is a combined result of both past and present actions". (Thanissaro Bhikkhu).

You can read the Buddha own words here:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.101.than.html

So there, you have the Buddha's word against this Robert whatever fellow. Note that Thanissaro Bhikku is a well-trusted translator of Buddhist text. And if we want another authoritative reference, we can try Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda, another "High Monk". From his What Buddhists Believe, click on the link titled "What is Kamma" where you will find the following under the subheading "Misconception regarding Kamma":

The misinterpretation or irrational views on kamma are stated in the Anguttara Nikaya which suggests that the wise will investigate and abandon the following views:

the belief that everything is a result of acts in previous lives;

the belief that all is the result of creation by a Supreme Ruler; and

the belief that everything arises without reason or cause.

If a person becomes a murderer, a thief, or an adulterer, and, if his actions are due to past actions, or caused by creation of a Supreme Ruler, or if that happened by mere chance, then this person would not be held responsible for his evil action.

Yet another misconception about kamma is..."

Anonymous said...

Kamma 101b - Natural disasters such as volcanoes and earthquakes are not caused by kamma!

Other Factors Which Support Kamma:
"Although Buddhism says that man can eventually control his karmic force, it does not state that everything is due to kamma. Buddhism does not ignore the role played by other forces of nature. According to Buddhism there are five orders or processes of natural laws(niyama) which operate in the physical and mental worlds:

seasonal laws(utu niyama) physical inorganic order e.g., seasonal phenomena of winds and rains, etc.

the biological laws (bija niyama) relating to seasonal changes etc.,

the kammic law (kamma niyama) relating to moral causation or the order of act and result,

natural phenomena (Dhamma niyama) relating to electrical forces, movement of tides etc., and

psychological laws (citta niyama) which govern the processes of consciousness.

Thus kamma is considered only as one of the five natural laws that account for the diversity in this world. "


Note, however, that while earthquakes and volcanoes etc are not caused by your Kamma...

that you are born in such a natural disaster zone, that you are around when such disasters occur, that you survive or not survive in such a disaster, is indeed impacted to a very large extent by your KAMMA - that's the proper way that Buddhism teaches. I hope this clarifies things.

Anonymous said...

Kamma 101c - scb asked: "why those who "could see the future" did not disclose and forewarn the victims"

Mr. Wang quoted this Robert fellow to give the answer from Buddhism's perspective but I think the latter did not answer it at all.

My answer: Simple. Buddha/Boddhisattwas are not omnipotent, and the belief is no one in the universe is.

This means:
1. They cannot make the volcanoes go away.

2. They are not able to transport entire village of people to another area.

3. They can warn, but others may not believe.

4. Even if warned and believed, the people may not be able to escape in time, due to their own karmmic hindrance.

5. Even if warned and believed and escaped in time, it just means that the unwholesome karmmic result is temporarily suppressed. When another disaster/opporunity arise, the bad karmma will still take effect. It's just a matter of sooner or later, and a matter of this disaster or that disaster, but since the "debt" has to be paid one way or another, then might as well pay it now...


Note: These are my own interpretation. May be wrong. Hopes this helps clarify Buddhism and hope we go back to the topic at hand :)

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
If one day, your little one asked you: "Daddy, why I am able to do this jigsaw puzzle, which says on its cover 'for 7 years old and above', when I am only 4"?

..tell me, are you going to answer:
A. "That's because you are very smart and therefore way above your age" (i.e. the Rosenthal's way) or

B. "That's because you have been working very hard at puzzles and therefore you are way above your age because others at your age don't work that hard on puzzles" (i.e the Carol Dweck's way)?


Now which makes you more comfortable - to let your kid draw the inference that other kids are stupid, or that other kids are lazy?


Actually, this is not a trick question. My 4 year old really did asked me that! And I think he did so to inflate his own ego. Haha!

Anyway, I ended up telling him "some kids are good at puzzles, some good at other things. So while you may be better than other kids at this, other kids will be better than you at other things". I did that because I don't feel comfortable feeding his ego, and make him too arrogant. But the truth is - I told him a lie. I really do think, based on this and other developmental milestones, that the true reason for his ability is that he is brilliant! High IQ way above his peers. Ahem. Haha!

So tell me, how would you handle such a situation? Would love to hear another parent's opinion :)

scb said...

The World is an illusion and so i, live simply and humbly, think not that You can master the Universe. You have to breathe, eat to survive, work to survive and survive only for a split second. That's how great we are! From an atheist again, thanks!

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