Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 66 of 154 
Next page End Contents 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71  

I hope you now see that thinking like a determinist gives us tolerance and hope
Time involved
It will only take you an hour or so to absorb the idea of
determinism and do some additional reading. It will probably take
weeks of practice before you have revised your thinking and accepted
all events in the world as lawful. Tolerance of all others and of
ourselves, coupled with a dedication to changing whatever is wrong,
does not come easy. Our society is saturated with criticism, cynicism,
and intolerance. We probably have blamed and resented personal
traits and evil intentions all our lives. We are not even "understanding"
of our own children and our lovers; we are far from accepting the
behavior of strangers and our enemies as being determined by lawful
cause-and-effect relationships. I think it may take decades for the
majority of us to adopt determinism, even though it is reality. But you
can to think like a determinist (or a scientist) and receive the benefits
any time. 
Common problems
First, the causes of human actions are very complex and, thus,
hard to observe and understand. It is certain that no ordinary behavior
of a human being (not even a two minute conversation) has ever been
completely understood, i.e. all the causes of all behavior, thoughts,
and feelings known and understood. In light of this, it is amazing that
humans constantly and quickly develop simple explanations for why
people acted the way they did or why events occurred as they did.
Needing an explanation seems to be an innate feature of our brain,
which served us well for millions of years by quickly understanding we
were under attack and devising a way to survive (see method #8).
The quick witted survived. There were few evolutionary payoffs for the
early human who tried to understand his/her attacker's psychological
background and motives (they were killed). It is hard to overcome
your biological heritage. 
Some of us are much more confident than others of our instant,
superficial explanations of behavior. Thus, people, who are
comfortable with their instant analyses, have firm resistance to
thinking like a determinist. More importantly, many of our
explanations of human behavior are determined by our strong feelings
towards the other person. If we are angry or hurt, we see the other
person's actions caused by mean and self-serving motives. If we are
needy or attracted to the person, we see their behavior caused by
desirable motives and factors. These aren't valid, objective,
comprehensive explanations of human behavior; they are more likely
Previous page Top Next page

« Back