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Monday, August 6, 2012

Quantum Psychology, Chapter 7

As the exercizes for Chapter 7 of Robert Anton Wilson's Quantum Psychology do not seem practical to me for an Internet discussion, I will beg your indulgence this week and pose a question which I invite sombunall of you (those who find it interesting) to join me in answering. Incidentally, there are many chapters left in the book, and the chapters are small, so if you have not taken part so far, there's plenty of time to get a copy of the book and "catch up."

Q. Robert Anton Wilson suggests in Chapter 7 that we think of possible outcomes in terms of probabilities rather than a rigid yes/no, i.e. "that will surely happen" vs. "that will never happen." Please give two example of how adopting this probability system consciously might affect your behavior, or how you think about an issue.

Here are my two.

(1) I have been about to come up with a blog entry for Quantum Psychology every Monday for six weeks in a row so far, and since I began this blog I have maintained a schedule of putting up a posting every day. I would estimate that my probability of posting today was 95 percent, i.e. there was at least some possibility I would fail because I was sick, I encountered an overwhelming emergency, I simply refused to do it, etc.

It seems to me that because I realize the people who read this blog have been "trained" to check for something every day, it is more likely that I will post -- because I don't want to disappoint them.

(2) I would guess that the possibility I will get into an automobile accident during my commute to work tomorrow is about .1 percent. (I have commuted to work for several years; I had to have my car repaired a couple of years ago when I hit a dead deer that suddenly loomed in front of me as I drove down the highway. I was not hurt.)

I try to remember to put on my seat belt when I get in the car. Although the possibility of an accident is low, it is definitely there. And the possibility that I might get hurt in an accident, if one took place, is probably quite high. Since much of my driving by necessity is at a high speed on a highway, perhaps the possibility is 40 percent. So it is worth my time to take a second or two to buckle up.


Eric Wagner said...

1. People who think the world will definitely end on a certain day will handle their finances differently.

2. Many people think they will definitely die. Others of us think perhaps we will live forever. I think this difference in orientation shapes a lot of thinking about life, the universe and everything.

Unknown said...

This chapter is actually one of my favorites... or rather one I feel an affinity for as far as having integrated the inherent concepts. I base everything in reality down to a percentage; it's a habit that started before I read any Wilson books. Really, our brain already uses quantum mechanics to judge reality. We must simply stop the left frontal lobe from disillusioning perception into certainty.

However, this does cause a problem in my career path as generally people in my field expect more certainty in responses than the average professions. Depending on my audience I will either lie with an aristotelian answer to appease them, or if I think they are capable of understanding or not of a significantly higher rank, I will give them the percentage based rundown. I get weird looks with the percentage answers but it's better to be accurate sometimes.

As I mentioned prior I try and label everything I encounter in life with a percentage and maintain awareness of that attribute on a conscious level. "I must always endeavor to carry my Zen with me". Will my google account get hacked? 3% after today's hardening of it. Will I finish writing my book within a year? 22% depending on depth of scientific research implemented. I am a bad procrastinator. Is my current girlfriend cheating? 41% based on her actions matching cultural patterns of a cheater, then again I'm a paranoid person. I also apply "accuracy offsets" to percentages to indicate that variables may reduce accuracy, as with the cheating girlfriend. Love is blind. This could also be called "Faith" in my assessment. I am not afraid to say sometimes I don't have enough data causing actions and reactions to be difficult to mitigate. 

One must remember that for one reality to drop in percentage there is another or many conflicting realities that challenge its position. There is a perfect quote for this chapter ironically spoken by Aristotle. "It is the mark of an intelligent man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

With percentage based realities there also must come conflicting possibilities that have yet to collapse. These opposing realities sitting in the mind increase the risk of paranoia, cognitive dissonance, and downright schizophrenia if not calmly approached or wisely taught. 

I know I am rambling too much but lastly I would like to point one more thing out that Eric reminded me. When a president that is a Christian is voted into office, he has no incentive to fund research into science that could grant immortality. This is because he has a 100% belief that he already is going to live forever, and that man will never be able to achieve such a thing with science.

Im sorry, I know you only asked for two things but I got carried away. 

Thom Foolery said...

This is an attempt at an answer: I was brought up in a very conservative Christian home in the 1970s, and Christianity--the Bible, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the trinity, sin, etc.--was the topic at family gatherings more often than not. When I was a teenager, I was more or less an atheist, in reaction to my folks' fundamentalist Christianity, but when I went off to college I had a brief flirtation with just their sort of fearful, passive-aggressive Christianity. Then one night I simply realized there was no hell and so my entire reason for being "Christian" ceased to exist. At roughly the same time I encountered the Buddha and his four "noble" truths. As you can imagine, the whole everything-is-suffering angle appealed to my 19-year old sensibilities. I studied and practiced Buddhism into my graduate school years, but I began to become disillusioned because Buddhism seemed to have as much BS in it as Christianity. Keept it as a philosophy? yes. As a religion? not so much. Then I rediscovered a connection to Jesus, partially in reaction to the overt hostility on the part of other convert Buddhists against all (rather than sombunall) of Christianity (ironically perhaps, RAW's stuff--along with Buddhism, Vedanta, etc.--helped me make sense of the newly forged connection). So now I consider myself in some sense a Christian, in some sense a Buddhist, in some sense an atheist, and in some sense an agnostic, in addition to many other senses.

phodecidus said...

1. In my experience and perhaps biased viewpoint, people who watch a lot of television and travel very little seem less likely to leave their home state or country while they seem more likely to have strong, unwavering opinions on countries outside of their own.

2. People who travel very often seem to have weaker, yet more detailed and complex, opinions of countries outside of their own.

3. It seems probable that I'll go to work tonight because I have never missed a shift without calling ahead of time. It also seems likely that when I mop the truckstop floors, someone will walk all over the wet tiles without even apologizing and I will probably feel hurt or angry.

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