What does it take to win someone over to a point of view?
Observation can do it, certainly. Our ability to look at behaviors and come up with ways to describe or characterize them is a useful and common talent. It accompanies sound mental processes in harmony with reliable senses.
Reason and science take that useful talent and enable it at a subjective remove from the subject in question: We can read, see, or hear about the acquisition of knowledge and expertise, without having to go through first-person experience, sometimes very usefully, since there are experiences we do not even want, but we will take the knowledge and facts gained from them, thank you very much.
So there is a cause-effect relationship between knowledge manifesting itself in the world, or in the record one takes of the world, and a human being becoming convinced of that knowledge or its assertions. A person can also become convinced of false assertions. This ranges from mistakes and misperceptions all the way to deliberate manipulation and falsehood.
But really, this weekend, when I started thinking about being convinced, I was not so much thinking about what can cause me to be convinced, but instead, what being convinced in a certain way about the way the world works can do to the world I then subsequently experience.
What am I talking about here? Magick? Cognitive filters? Unconscious biases and prejudices? Yes, yes, and yes.
Over and over, spiritual, mystical, philosophical, and psychological studies show that a person’s mindset at a particular time shapes how they subsequently experience the world. Can some of this be, not only the way matter affects mind, but a way mind affects matter?
Of course, saying “yes” without objectively demonstrable and repeatable testing producing verifying results is foolishness, poppycock, nonsense.
Very well. If scientific information CONVINCED you that light behaved like waves, you could go and find justification for this. If it CONVINCED you that light behaved like particles, you could proceed in a similar fashion and be satisfied in your convictions. Many chapters in modern physics are devoted to showing how you’d be right – but not totally right – either way.
But if you were CONVINCED this was all Liberal-minded relativism, or maybe just that those physicists have gotten too smart for their own good and their conclusions are contradictory because they’ve simply started spouting opposing views that are plain nonsense – and their formulae are gibberish though the highest among them claim it is not – well, if you were CONVINCED of that, how could sound science and peer review outweigh that in a way that would manifest to your particular mind?
So there are psychological and perhaps physical phenomena behind our viewpoints and observation methods and belief systems shaping the universe we experience.
Does it go beyond that? Who knows? Scientists can be just as stubborn and dogmatic as anyone else. Robert Anton Wilson suspected the belief systems of CSICOP participants – now the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – shaped the very science they accepted and the very pseudoscience they rejected. It was a dogmatic leap of faith, he thought, that led them to their own private myopia.
The inspirational process that woke me up many a morning this past Spring and early Summer seemed to heighten my senses, and my sense of an underlying pattern to which the Universe was resonating in ways I could feel and experience. But the more I poked at that, of course, the harder it was to manifest itself as a repeatable result. It certainly has not yet led me to any breathtaking new mathematical truth.
But that Space Bus I call MIRIAM, oh, that Space Bus — does it only take its passengers as far as they are CONVINCED it can take them?
What would it take to win me over to a viewpoint that would allow MIRIAM – Moving Inspiration Rapidly Into Accepting Minds – to take me further?
This is important. And I know from secondary knowledge that many have sought answers, perhaps not in so many words, to this question.