Personal Power Again

Personal Power – Everyone makes logical decisions.

I do not believe in teaching only rote facts because rote teaching requires the student to hand over her personal power to the teacher.  I call this the “baby bird syndrome.”  Waiting for someone to tell you what is real and what to do about it.  Similarly, nobody can stop us from learning, but we need to take some control over our own learning process if we want to develop our personal power to reach positive goals.

I know the human brain makes good decisions if it has good information.  I have watched students “get it” and take the power of their own learning into their own hands, as has any good teacher.  There is no trick to it.  The human brain was meant to make good decisions.  Everyone makes good decisions, based on what they know.  If we know stuff that isn’t true — the brain will still make logical choices, good decisions based on the information, but the decisions will not powerfully implement the goal, because they will not “go with the flow” of the facts we have to deal with.  We don’t need to learn logic.  It’s a good thing and I recommend it to save time, but I believe our brains are hard wired for logic.

I know, it doesn’t seem like other people are logical.  It seems like other people make very strange decisions based on very strange beliefs.  But if you sit down and LISTEN to WHY they believe what they do.  There is always a logic to it, and the only strange part is the information they do not know about.  Learning logic is not our problem.  The problem is getting real facts into our brains in a world of people — people you trust — who want you to believe in things that factually are not true.  “There is no global warming.”  “We will never run out of oil.”  How can we know whom to believe?  The modern generations were not taught how to deal with this situation; they were taught that “Everyone has a right to his own opinion.”  They pick the most comfortable answer that fits logically into their already worldview.

Some facts and definitions we can learn by rote.  Like Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  That’s a fact, but it might not be useful to your own successful journey through life.  But it’s an easy decision whether or not you care about the rote bits.  The bigger problem is that most of the information we have available today comes from the tube, and most of that is not factual.  Either because it is an announcer who doesn’t understand what he is reading, or because it’s propaganda, carefully crafted to sound like real facts but actually meant to sell us stuff and ideas that are not true.  In fact, designed to sell us a whole world view that is not factual.  And by the time you have learned a whole unrealistic world view, it is difficult and also painful to change it — or to live with it.  PTSD.  Our problem is not with our logical brain and its decision-making power.  Our problem is getting true facts about ourselves, and the environment we live in, so the brain can do what it was meant to do.  Sort them out and respond appropriately.

If you have a goal in life (and everyone has a goal) then you need personal power to reach toward your goal.  Personal power is the ability to move down the path of your life in the direction that you want to go.  For some people that is toward a career; for far too many in this world it is simply to stay alive.  Whatever is your goal, your personal power depends upon two things:  (1) where you are (really); (2) where you believe you are.

In other words, if your world view is accurate, if you understand the situation, then you will have a good chance to succeed.  Or at least not to have that lost, “where am I? I need someone to take care of me” feeling.

So the tube takes away our personal power in ways big and small, but even aside from the tube, we throw away a lot of our own personal power.  If you ask almost anyone:  “Do you understand the situation you are in?”  They will say of course they do, and then they will explain it to you in great detail.  You listen — you know they do not really understand the situation — but you can’t tell them because it will only start an argument.  They don’t want to hear anything that upsets their worldview.  PTSD is scary, unpleasant, down right painful.  I don’t blame them.

But really, nobody understands all about whatever situation they are in.  So, second to the tube (and whatever we learned growing up), our biggest loss of personal power is from throwing it away because we won’t listen (and have been taught to not listen) to anything outside of the cozy (or at least familiar) world view that we have constructed inside our own heads.

And we don’t even understand what we don’t understand.

The solution, if you want to expand your personal power, is not to focus on what you do understand, but to figure out what you do not understand, and what you need to understand, in order to accomplish your personal and community goals.

LISTEN!  Ideas don’t hurt those who seek the truth and who knows, the truth might make you free, but only if it really is true.  Not just because it is logical.

Lynn Lamoreux