Posts Tagged ‘Science’
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
I have just read a book “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattle which likely influenced Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich” which I’ve read and praised earlier.
I have to praise this one too and without hesitation I can recommend it to everyone looking for constructive insights on how exactly to attain wealth and success, especially since it’s just 66 pages long.
“The Science of Getting Rich” is what also largely influenced The Secret, a popular movie from 2006 that popularized the concept of “The Law of Attraction”, albeit such a term isn’t found in the actual book.
That said, just like “Think and Grow Rich”, this book greatly resonates with me. I can see the logic in them and I can see exactly how applying philosophies expressed in these books can lead one to success. Think and Grow Rich especially has a pretty solid mount of evidence in support of the positively transformational power of its ideas as many successful and wealthy people reportedly cite that book as being a major influence to their success.
I can also say that it certainly made me a lot more likely to succeed as I can with absolute confidence say that in part thanks to these books I am far more confident about myself and far more daring. I have transformed and solidified my view of failure as part of success, of limitations as primarily mental and self-imposed, of wealth creation as a noble rather than morally reprehensible goal, and so on.
Yet I am still somewhat uneasy, or at least, I am eager to express something that I feel could make the philosophies presented in these books more complete, and put them deeper within a rational and scientific context. There are two reasons for this.
Confusion over The Law of Attraction (and The Secret)
As much as I could say that “The Secret” movie brought philosophies of these books to the masses I would say that it perverted them or dumbed them down to the point at which pretty much the only thing an average person could get from it is that “I can get whatever I wish in my mind by the simple act of wishing”. And I can see how can these philosophies be brought down to this incredible oversimplification. The fact that they zeroed in to this term “Law of Attraction” which immediately implies that the core of the idea is attraction, not action, doesn’t help at all.
Yet both Wallace Wattle and Napoleon Hill emphasized the importance of taking action. Even the movie itself, The Secret, glossed over this briefly, but insufficiently.
That said, Wallace did pretty much say that strongly envisioning something you desire in your mind and being grateful for getting it even before you actually get it (in order to affirm your absolute belief in that you will get it) will directly cause a chain of events independent of your physical action that will make the thing you desire to be attracted to you. In a nutshell, this guy believed in the Law of Attraction.
However, this is what leads me to the second reason of my “uneasiness”. He uses terms which CAN be interpreted in a different way where a different light is cast on the whole “attraction” business and where thought itself doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a direct cause of your getting what you desire. In essence, the whole action-reaction chain that ensues once you form the desire filled and confident thought in your mind may be slightly different than what most readers of Wallace and perhaps even Wallace himself, is led to believe.
This would be a result of our limited understanding of that which we are, through these ideas, beginning to discover. The ways in which we are describing it are still inefficient and insufficient to precisely pin point the exact science in question. Due to the amount of people that succeed by applying these ideas it seems plausible that we ARE looking at a glimpse of truth rather than a fallacy, but due to the limited understanding, we may be getting some of the crucial details wrong, which is the case regarding “The Secret” and “Law of Attraction”.
Thoughts, energy and action-reaction chains
First of all, it is currently scientifically understood that all matter in existence comes down to energy. When an object, no matter how big or how small, is inert, it has potential energy, albeit on a more fundamental level it is never inert so inertion is relative to the observer. When the same object becomes active it converts its potential energy to kinetic energy. And due to the conservation of energy law energy is never actually destroyed or “spent away”; it’s simply converted from one form to another.
It is then conceivable that physical forms of shape could also be considered as specific forms of energy, of potential energy if anything. Wallace Wattle talks about “formless substance” and this is where it appears that energy fits right in. But then we enter the realm of thought. Wattle also describes this as “formless substance that thinks“.
If formless substance is energy then the question is can energy think? If everything in existence is fundamentally energy though then human beings and other thinking life forms are energy as well in which case through them energy can and does indeed think. Observing what happens in our brains when we think does reveal that our thoughts are in effect just a complex stream of impulses, of energy!
But the concept of “formless substance that thinks” seems to imply that energy thinks regardless of whether it holds a form of a thinking life form or not, in which case a tree thinks itself into existence as a tree, a rock thinks itself into an existence as a rock and so on. Can this be?
Well, to answer this would require defining “thought” and this again refers me to the observation of thoughts as streams of energy in which case thought is nothing but a patter of energy flows. Thoughts then ARE energy. Thoughts then could be considered a fundamental building block of everything in existence.
In that case by the very virtue of being, a tree thinks. The only difference between a tree that thinks itself into existence and a human that thinks itself into existence is that a human is aware of his thoughts whereas a tree isn’t, giving a human the power to transform his thoughts and therefore himself and direction of his growth whereas the tree just “instinctively” grows according to parameters established by itself and the rest of the thinking reality.
So where does law of attraction or its rebuttal as it were fit in?
Well, it implies a very specific thing. It infers from the above realizations, provided that LOA supporters have these realizations, a particular action-reaction chain without actually seeing any empirical or logical consistency evidence of such an action-reaction chain occurring. It infers that because we are all made of thought-energy that our envisioning a particular image strongly somehow materializes this image into a physical equivalent. But what basis do they have for concluding this? This is NOT a necessary conclusion of everything being consisted of thought-energy and it ignores the many intricate ways in which thought-energy actually flows or interacts with that which it constantly creates.
So even if all of the above is true, that everything is consisted of thought-energy thinking itself to existence, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I can think something else aside of me and my actions into existence, something that on a macro scale never actually interacts with me. I think this is all coming from a gross misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of the laws which actually govern “thinking”, that is, a process by which thought-energy shapes itself into forms we see around ourselves, and the universe at large.
What we CAN conclude based on actual evidence though is that a thought can cause an act and that therefore one indeed cannot achieve anything before previously envisioning that something in the mind. The efficiency of any given act in its ability to bring us closer to the achievement of our goal is directly dependent on our understanding of the action-reaction chains which are necessary to achieve it. Most of us probably still use crude methods and do things which we might not necessary have to do, that are superfluous to our goals, but we’re still learning.
Theoretically though it is possible that as we begin learning more and more about precise action-reaction chains involved in how everything comes into being (or in other words the process by which thought-energy creates) we MAY be able to by the power of our mind alone replicate things we envision out of thin air, by arranging our thoughts in such a way to create an energy impulse that arranges molecules of air surrounding us into whatever we have envisioned.
But we’re likely a very long way there and still have plenty to learn.
In conclusion, I think that it is worth considering what was written in “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Science of Getting Rich” as it IS evidently changing people’s lives for the better. I think that they are scratching the surface of a new understanding that may soon become a real science. The fact that they sometimes sound almost mystical or add what appear to be superfluous conclusions (like law of attraction) merely reflects the limitedness of their understanding of the actual source of the ideas they have through their thinking and observing discovered, not that these are ideas are completely false.
So let’s keep exploring this and evolving.
Monday, September 1st, 2008
A few hours ago I watched a movie called “What the bleep do we know” and then went on to hunt for some reviews and critiques of it. The best I’ve read comes from an excellent skeptical blog and I have to say I agree with that the attempt to make the theories presented as scientific were largely a fraud. The truth, from what I gathered, seems to be that there really are no definite answers when it comes to the mysteries of quantum physics and that it is therefore premature to come up with any sort of an explanation and call it real.
So I have to count the bleep squarely in the same category as “The Secret”, which actually came later on and probably made an even bigger splash. It’s taking some truths and mixing them with half truths and unsupported claims (“lies” wouldn’t be too far off) and presents it through nice animations, effects, inspirational talk etc. to appeal to the gullible.
What bothers me most about these kinds of movies and resulting “philosophies” is that they seem to taint the real thing. The reason I was attracted to watching these kinds of movies in the first place is reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, which made so much sense to me and felt so positively empowering that I found myself easily believing it. And I still do think that “Think and Grow Rich” is the real deal that can really and actually help people achieve what they desire to achieve.
However, movies like “The Secret” took the ideas from people like Napoleon Hill, using even their own words in rather subtle ways and then in the process of marketing it to the masses dumbed it down and bastardized it to a point at which it becomes hard to discern where the real original philosophy ends and their fantasy conjectures begin.
For instance, Napoleon Hill never mentions “Law of Attraction”, nor does he say that the ideas he is presenting are a great secret that has been suppressed through centuries. Mr. Hill does mention the secret though, but it is something entirely else. It is a label he briefly puts on Andrew Carnegie’s strategy of success and a sort of a “plot device” of his book that encourages the reader to try and be perceptive as (s)he reads the book. He deliberately does not just “spell out” this secret, but instead wants the reader to recognize it himself as (s)he is reading, because it is evident from each chapter.
Brian Kim, in his “Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich”, spells it out and using “Think and Grow Rich” as a base, also spells out a very practical strategy of success which is so down to earth that it presents a tremendous contrast to the hot air of “The Secret” movie, as well as “What the bleep do we know”.
Napoleon Hill also talks a bit about something he terms as “infinite intelligence” and the reasoning behind this is simple and does not even begin to involve quantum mechanics, something that authors of both the bleep movie and The Secret have readily abused. He simply concedes that all universe is made up of matter, time and energy and that, being a part of it, our thoughts are actually energy too. It isn’t too surprising that he’d conclude that on some level this energy of our thoughts and the rest of the energy in the universe is connected and that this then means that all thought energy of the universe is connected into “infinite intelligence”.
Now, sure, that sounds quite close to the New Age stuff propagated through bleep and The Secret, but when you compare the level at which these modern movies rely on this theory with the content of Mr. Hills book the contrast is again quite stark. In “Think and Grow Rich” the idea of “infinite intelligence” merely seems like a sidebar, not the thing on which the whole premise of the book hinges on. Whether you choose to believe in “infinite intelligence” or not the book remains incredibly useful by the merit of the practical advice it gives alone.
And what better proof is there than the number of people who read the book and in their reviews repeatedly claim that it helped them successfully achieve such things as start their own businesses, beat an addiction problem etc. Just do a search for “think and grow rich review”. It’s very easy to find them. I tried looking for negative reviews as well and it isn’t as easy to find, and that’s after 70 years of the book being available.
That said, I did say earlier that even if I don’t believe it as a fact, I do think that the theory of “infinite intelligence” is fairly plausible. But I have to emphasize that this mere belief in possibility does not constitute a claim. I am by far NOT siding with the New Agers and the like who claim that we are all a part of god or gods ourselves etc. And even if I did start believing in one version of that, I seriously don’t want to be associated with them, at least those who so readily deceive people by offering them dumbed down versions of the truth which in the process of being dumbed down actually ends up being a half-truth or a lie.
Also, the belief in the existence of “infinite intelligence” (which again I’m not necessarily holding) is not the same as belief in thoughts shaping reality. At best it is a belief in the possibility of communicating with other minds on Earth or in the universe, intentionally or unintentionally. Thus, instead of being a tool of direct creation or “attraction”, thoughts may merely be a beginning to the kind of action which fascilitates a sort of “telepathic” communication, much in the similar way thoughts are the beginning to action done by our own hands and legs. Action then leads to reaction and this is how we see results of our efforts. But those still are real efforts, beyond mere thoughts.
And furthermore, since quantum physics, from what little I know about it, does not exactly provide definite answers yet, it doesn’t see inconceivable that it would allow for the reality based existence of “infinite intelligence” (sum of all thoughts in the universe) and such abilities as telepathy. I just don’t take those as facts yet, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility either.
Anyway, these days I am actually trying to apply the practical philosophy of success presented by Napoleon Hill and made even more practical by Brian Kim. I’ve set up a rather ambitious yet believable goal based on my desires, decided to pursue it and to consistently try to instill in myself the confidence and belief that I can achieve it. Yes, I am applying positive thinking, but NO, I am NOT applying “The Secret” as they are defining it. I am not expecting anything awesome to happen to me merely on the basis of my positive thinking.
What I expect instead is quite natural, that I will be more inclined to take action and consequently WILL take action to achieve my goals; from the first stage of collecting knowledge I need to achieve it, to organizing into primary and secondary plans to the actual execution of them that will lead me to the achievement of the goal.
And there’s nothing especially supernatural or even spiritual about that.
If finally starting DoublePlusHuman.com is going to be consistent with the achievement of this goal, something I’m still researching, then one of the things I will write about on that site is this incredibly important skill of discerning the real self-growth philosophy from those who abused it for their own fame and profit because I think the message people like Napoleon Hill have for individuals of this world is far too important for it to be destroyed in the minds of many by such scam artistry riding on the tails of wisdom and success of the original true thinkers in the field.
Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
For a second day in a row I feel “all-powerful”. It is the effect of reading that book, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, which I mentioned earlier, and beating on the ideas I discovered there by following through the “Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich” by Brian Kim. It is easy for me to just say that I feel like I can do anything or that it is possible for you to feel like you can do anything, but it is a feeling and thus escapes words.
You have to read the book and if you don’t understand, try the Hidden Secret book I mentioned as well, since it clarifies a lot of the core ideas in “Think and Grow Rich”. The book is so deep and so profound that it is hard to just classify it as a “success” book or let alone “how to get rich” book. The ideas it presents are like a recipe for succesful happy living not just in a material, but even in a spiritual sense, but WITHOUT what is commonly know as religion, yet also WITHOUT contradicting those who do believe in some religion.
It is therefore entirely universal and universally applicable. To give you just a peak into how powerful it is, I will say that the book made me actually believe in the possibility of humans having telepathic abilities, in the legitimacy of prayer that involves no gods and in the power of thought as more than mere imagination – as a creative power which can truly be transformed into real matter. I think and therefore I am. I think and therefore I create. I think and therefore I make reality around me bow to my desire, my burning desire.
I would say that the ideas presented form more than a religion, because it spans religions, being more fundamental, more open ended and more logical and scientific.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I can because now I know I can, because I know how is it that I can set my mind to something, because I know more about thinking, feeling, imagining. I can almost understand fully what is meant by this verse from the bible:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word. What is it but an outcome of an idea, a thought? What bible further describes is that it is with his word that god created everything. Indeed. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to some to realize, however, that you too can create with words. But it is not enough to just spell out “create me a second moon orbiting Earth”.
You first have to have a genuine burning desire for something, not just a shallow “wish”. Then you have to have absolute and utter confidence, that is faith in your ability to realize what you desire, then decide that you WILL indeed realize it just as you decide to go and get something to eat and then without thinking and doubting your ability to eat, just do it. You have to write your desire in words where you can read them in order to inject yourself with the same kind of exactness and feeling you had when you first uttered the words. You’re essentially renewing your vow with yourself and your power to do it.
The subsequent steps will come naturally – the creation of a plan of action, of how to achieve it, the total persistence even through so called (by others) “failures” (failure doesn’t exist, it’s merely a piece of information that helps you succeed). In the end you WILL create what you desired.
So you might say this is an ardous process and how can I possibly compare that with the instantaneous creation by word of god. But bible doesn’t quite specify that he created everything instantaneously. Maybe it was indeed an ardous process, or maybe he could do all of the above in a fraction of the time we need because he was of such an advanced species. Or maybe christians are just taking the verses too literally.
Napoleon Hill talks about something he terms “Infinite Intelligence” which is essentially a common pool of all intelligence in the universe, I presume. Because right down to it thoughs are actually nothing more than streams of energy and the whole universe is consisted of nothing but space, time, matter and energy. Energy is the one which uses matter and time to create. If thoughts are energy you can see how thoughts can create. And you might also begin to see the logic behind the proposition of “infinite intelligence”. If thoughts are energy and energy is everywhere then our thoughts are essentially binded to the thoughts of all other thinking beings on this planet, but also of thoughts of all other thinking beings in the universe.
We’re just not as evolved mentally to practice the ability of receiving from this stream of thought, but such thing has and does happen. Napoleon Hill calls such things as “hunches” and flashes of incredibly brilliant creative ideas as possibly having come from this “infinite intelligence”. Incidentally, such hunches and flashes come when the mind is in a rather peculiar state (extremely active, energized by special emotional mixtures etc.) which suggests that in those states the mind actually “switches on” the receptor of information from the inifinite intelligence or “tunes in”.
Perhaps it is this “infinite intelligence” that people call “god”, but obviously being still under-evolved and therefore unable to understand it they personify it and they treat such great men, great thinkers indeed, who managed to evolve to a point of using this power (Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha etc.) as prophets and emmisaries of “god”.
Yet they may simply be humans who have come to learn how to use their minds better than anyone else, and “tune in” to the universal streams of thought. It’s a darn intriguing thought!
I wont say I fully believe all this. At this point I merely take it as a plausible theory. I know one thing however, one thing Napoleon Hill managed to convinced me pretty strongly off – thoughts are much much much more powerful than most people believe. We might just have seemingly “godly” power beneath our skulls, yet just seldom learn how to use it.
So you can imagine the thrill I feel as I am discovering all this. I feel like I’m beginning to revive this incredibly powerful tool beneath my skull, like the energy is building up, the fire is starting to burn and my personal power rises.
It feels so good that I could scream of happiness.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
–> In the beginning there is a thought, and the thought is from infinite intelligence, and the thought IS a part of infinite intelligence.
Saturday, March 15th, 2008
This project is amazing. They are literally trying to create a brain inside of a supercomputer which could even develop intelligence AND self awareness. And if it doesn’t, it will be just another mystery to solve. Here is an excellent story about it: Out of the Blue.
The kinds of people like Henry Markram are a real inspiration. They take on “impossible” goals and tackle them with confidence, determination and dedication, building amazing things in the process.
“Blue Brain scientists are confident that, at some point in the next few years, they will be able to start simulating an entire brain. “If we build this brain right, it will do everything,” Markram says. I ask him if that includes selfconsciousness: Is it really possible to put a ghost into a machine? “When I say everything, I mean everything,” he says, and a mischievous smile spreads across his face.”
“Niels Bohr once declared that the opposite of a profound truth is also a profound truth. This is the charmed predicament of the Blue Brain project. If the simulation is successful, if it can turn a stack of silicon microchips into a sentient being, then the epic problem of consciousness will have been solved. The soul will be stripped of its secrets; the mind will lose its mystery. However, if the project fails—if the software never generates a sense of self, or manages to solve the paradox of experience—then neuroscience may be forced to confront its stark limitations. Knowing everything about the brain will not be enough. The supercomputer will still be a mere machine. Nothing will have emerged from all of the information. We will remain what can’t be known.”