Amily shaw


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Can we think without any presumptions?

Questions arised from one of the conversation and a reminiscence of a old lady who said:"nobody is right but me."

Are we free of personal bias when we think?
how reliable it is for us ourselves to judge if we are free of personal bias or not ?

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    Feb 17 2013: I really, really hope not. I am who I am today because of all the experiences and life I have lived up to this point. It is the cumulative effect that makes me think differently than anyone else.

    There are times when I need to judge without presumptions. If I am not intimately aware of what my presumptions are, how can I set them aside? It takes effort and self knowledge to effectively do that. Even then, I do not think we can set aside all our presumptions.
  • Feb 26 2013: I think that presumptions originate from our sense of identity (a.k.a. the ego) , which we can shift if we are open to the possibility of self-evolution. The reason why people hold on so dearly to presumptions, is that they are the bits and pieces that make up the framework for their identity. Losing those bits and pieces will lead to what they fear the most - losing themselves in the sea of information that surrounds us. Presumptions are just bits of information , we don't need to add any negative or positive connotations to them, but rather to accept their existence, and be able to accept that there is always other information that will contradict these presumptions at one point or another. It is up to us to be able to ride the wave of information, and be able to pick and choose as it is appropriate. And that appropriateness is something, that I believe connects to an inner core of self - beyond the strict framework of identity and self. The self that doesn't need to be defined because it has been and always will be in existence as long as we have lived and taken breath.
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      Feb 27 2013: Well said Elizabeth! I LOVE your statements..."...losing themselves in the sea of information...", and "It is up to us to be able to ride the wave of information, and be able to pick and choose as it is appropriate".

      Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
      "I tell you how to stave off drowning. Dive down. Embrace it. The sea will spit you back, astonished."
      (David Brendan Hopes- A sense of the Morning - Nature Through New Eyes)
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      Feb 28 2013: Why the great fear of losing one's little self,the ego? It is only made of thought. It seems that fear keeps us seperate from each other by feeling better or worse. What kind of world can we build as One, with all persons seeing all others and all life as our true inner Self in a different form and situation? We will have world peace and a new Renaissance on Earth. This is not impossible. Love is the greatet power in existence. We will survive.
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        Feb 28 2013: Hello again David:>)
        You ask..."Why the great fear of losing one's little self,the ego?"

        I suggest there is fear because some folks get so attached to their presumptions, assumptions and personal biases? If people identify themselves based on established beliefs, who and what would they be without them? That thought/feeling is sometimes frightening for some folks.

        I agree with you....these beliefs are only "thoughts".....information that we choose to embrace.....or not. I also agree that this practice is what keeps us seperate from each other.

        In order to have the kind of life you describe... one in which we recognize the connectivity of the whole, it is necessary to NOT be attached to the presumptions, assumptions and biases. I believe it is ABSOLUTELY possible, interesting and enjoyable:>)

        Personally, I like the UNKNOWN, because it is limitless. I would not deny myself that opportunity, because I felt more secure holding onto presumptions and bias.

        We have been "surviving" for a long time. As thinking, feeling, intelligent, evolving human beings, I believe it is time to move beyond surviving, into a new understanding that we can flurish as individuals, AND as a global community:>)
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          Mar 1 2013: I Like Eckhart Tolle's viewpoint in The Power of Now. That we are approaching a critical mass, when the power of the timeless Source overcomes the mess created by unconscious humans.

          I suggest that there are two polarized viewpoints; Ultimate optimism and ultimate pessimism. Ultimate upimism being the view that the cosmos will continue unfolding with constant improvement and we should therefore look after it with loving care.. Ultimate pessimism being the view that the universe will soon end, so it really doesn't matter what happens or what we do to the world as much as our religious theories are in line.

          Can we flourish as a global community? Absolutely! We need only to udate the planetary management model.
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        Mar 1 2013: David,
        I love Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now:>)

        Being totally in the moment (the power of now) is one tool we can use which facilitates recognizing presumptions, assumptions and biases for what they truly are.

        I suggest there are a LOT of viewpoints in addition to ultimate optimism and ultimate pessimism. Sometimes, when "religious theories are in line", it is destructive to our world and the people in it. Is that what you are saying? "Ultimate pessimism being the view that the universe will soon end, so it really doesn't matter what happens or what we do to the world as much as our religious theories are in line." Are you saying if religious theories are in line the hell with everything else?

        I think/feel we need balance, and I do not believe in depending on religious theories, because in my perception, that does not seem to be working too well for our world.

        Whether we, as individuals choose to think WITH or WITHOUT presumptions doesn't have anything to do with religion....unless one's presumptions are about religion.
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          Mar 1 2013: Presumptions, assumptions and biases are merely human thoughts with a large amount of ego in them. Any judgement of our fellow human beings is made by comparison to our treassured me myself and I. I agree that there are many viewpoints but there is a polarization. All are either essentailly positive or essentially negative.

          The viewpont of ultimate negativity (that it's all soon finished) breeds thoughts that the planet does not matter that much, and contributes to it's destrucion, whereas the view of ultimate optimism (that the cosmos is the timeless manifestation of eternal source,) requires of us to postulate that we need this magic planet to survive so that life can continue to have a home.The assumption that I'm destined for Heaven (by any name) places the present-time universe in a secondary position to a dream. This is what is. Let's do everything in our power to understand it. And let us grow to realise that the peson reading this is much more than a bag of thoughts and is essentially an aspect of the timesless source.

          Why assume we are limited temportary humans, and miss the peace of experiencing and understaning our timeless Beingness? Essentially, I am you and you are me. We are all part of the one life. So the logic in treating "your brother as yourself" becomes obvious. He is yourself.

          This also leads us to respect all life forms. And what is love but respect?
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        Mar 1 2013: David,
        I agree that presumptions, assumptions and biases are merely human thoughts. I am very much in favor of being good stewards to our environment, which sustains us. I do not "assume we are limited" in any way, and I wholeheartedly believe that we are all connected. If you've read any of my comments, you might be aware of my feelings in that respect. Unfortunately, much of the information contained in presumptions and biases contributes to the feeling of seperateness in our world. Respect is one element of love:>) Are you preaching to the choir?
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          Mar 1 2013: I hope I am, that there is a chior of people whe see the general love of all life is indeed just that; respect. I have read many of your comments and agree greatly.
  • Feb 25 2013: You can't really know your biases unless you have the ability to think about your own thinking and even then science has discovered that most thought is unconscious, see here:

    So most people are not capable of accurately thinking about their own thinking because

    1) It requires sufficient ability
    2) It takes enormous amounts of time, energy, reading, life experience and dedication.

    All of which not many people have.
  • Feb 25 2013: We sound are used to talking from thinking with our own presumption or judging with our personal bias.If we want to think without any presumptions.We should teach the conscious thinking from kindergarden to university.And how?I think meditation is not a bad exercise for children to have in young age.Education is the most helpful thing which deserves us to invest and search to make the world better.TED is doing the kind of great thing.Thanks for all guys have contributed to TED a long time and wanna go on and on!Let's march on with'never too old to learn'slogon.
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      Feb 25 2013: I agree Edulover! We can teach and learn about presumption, personal bias and judging. I believe most of the information that fuels bias and presumptions has been given to us by parents, societies, religions, etc. When we can see the information for what it is, we have the ability to let go of our judgments, which are based on bias/presumptions.

      I agree that meditation is a good way to calm the mind chatter, which is often based on presumptions. I wholeheartedly agree....never too old to learn. I will be learning until I take my last breath on this earth school:>)
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    Feb 23 2013: Thinking is highly overraited. The human mind is not as able as we think it is. It is cluttered with prgramming, pain and unresolved grudges. I would rather ask how can we reason with assumptions,which is really just another word for prejudgments. Fixed opinions close the mind to all but selective input and corrupt it's resoning.
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      Feb 24 2013: "Thinking is highly overraited."

      David, I'd be the first to say that it sure appears that way given the kind of outcomes that are usually the result of our thinking.

      Nevertheless, it's not "thinking," the function of thinking that's at fault, but that we've forgotten the purpose of thinking. Thinking is for creating. As such, we're amazing, almost unstoppable, creation machines, creating continually our reality, and oftentimes not for the better but for the worse.

      "The human mind is not as able as we think it is."

      Granted, the "human mind" seems to let us down, especially when we need it most, often during moments of extreme stress, emotional confusion, and trying straits.

      When we need the steady hand of rational thinking and the imaginative power of hindsight and foresight to guide us, we often end up on the rocky shores of our disastrous thinking, and poor judgment.

      "Fixed opinions close the mind to all but selective input and corrupt it's resoning."

      Yes, it can "close the mind," which is why this seemingly unstoppable runaway train of our thinking processes must be brought to a screeching halt as often as is possible during the day, to stop the incessant creation that goes on in the name of thinking, so that we might create with the full potential of our intellect.

      This is why Transcendental Meditation, reducing thinking to one thought, a mantra, has effectively aided the thinking process, and has delivered some amazing results for those who practice it.

      Taking it a step further, others have applied brakes to their thinking altogether, not even focusing on a thought, or a mantra, but allowing themselves to be enveloped by the silence that comes with not thinking at all.

      It's a more difficult process, but the benefits are immeasurable: Greater tranquility and health; more insight into life's opaqueness; quicker learning of skills or difficult information; and wider access to an Inner Wisdom that's sure to guide both our actions and our behavior.
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        Feb 24 2013: Dear Wilbert,
        I wholeheartedly agree that "we're amazing...creating continually our reality..." as you insightfully say.

        You then go on to say that the ""human mind" seems to let us down...when we need the steady hand of rational thinking and imaginative power...this seemingly unstoppable runaway train of our thinking processes must be brought to a screeching halt..."

        Although you say that we are amazing and continually creating our reality, which I totally agree with, you also say the mind lets us down? The unstoppable runaway train of our thinking process "must be brought to a screeching halt as often as is possible during the day"?

        It sounds like you are giving your mind/brain/rational thinking a "mind of it's own", so to speak, and perceiving it as something outside your "self"?

        I agree that meditation sometimes helps to calm the mind chatter, and I take full responsibility for MY mind chatter. I control the information that is streaming through my mind/brain/thought process, at any given time. I am continually creating my reality, and in doing that, I am mindfully aware of the thought process and how it is connected with other body/mind systems.

        When you say the ""human mind" seems to let us down...when we need the steady hand of rational thinking and imaginative power...this seemingly unstoppable runaway train of our thinking processes must be brought to a screeching halt..." perhaps you are refering to your "self" and how you connect with the thinking process. This is certainly NOT how everyone functions:>)

        It is not a difficult process to calm the mind's a choice. As you say.....we continually create our reality. As long as we say this very natural process is difficult, that is the reality we create for ourselves. When folks recognize it as a natural process, that too is the reality we create. To " think without any presumptions" is simply another enjoyable process that we, as individuals control....when we are mindfully aware:>)
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          Feb 24 2013: "[Y]ou also say the mind lets us down?"

          Actually, I said: "seems to let us down," when in fact it's operating according to its prime directive which is to create.

          "It sounds like you are giving your mind/brain/rational thinking a 'mind of it's own', so to speak, and perceiving it as something outside your 'self'?"

          I'm not saying that, but it is a topic worthy of discussion--just how much are we consciously in control of our psyche--but a topic outside the parameters of this discussion, as is a discussion of the Id, ego and super-ego, as well as the conscious, subconscious, superconscious and supraconscious.

          "I am continually creating my reality, and in doing that, I am mindfully aware of the thought process and how it is connected with other body/mind systems."

          Monitoring our thoughts allows us to "create" intentionally, rather than in the usual, unmonitored, haphazard manner by which we often create. So yes, this kind of thinking puts us at the helm so to speak, so that we steer our thoughts in directions of our choosing rather than allow the currents of previous thoughts about a thing, preconceptions, and unfiltered biases to take us away, but, instead, create our reality and experiences in the moment, and in a way of our conscious choosing.

          "[P]erhaps you are refering to your 'self' and how you connect with the thinking process. This is certainly NOT how everyone functions:>)"

          Clearly not. In our midst are Masters of the Mind and of the many attributes of the psyche, those who can create at one or many levels, the level of the body, the level of the conscious mind, the level of the superconscious, and the level of the supraconscious, where thought becomes intention and intention reality, as though they're one, and at a level of immediacy that the distinction between the two are blurred, and rendered indistinguishable.

          What I'm advocating is this: Rather than we spending so much time in our mind, we opt to be out of our mind as much as we're humanly able.
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        Feb 24 2013: Wilbert,
        Each person, may be "in control" at different levels, and it is a matter of being mindfully aware, which is very much connected to this topic...."Can we think without any presumptions". If we do not know what thoughts are presumptions, we probably do not have control regarding our thoughts and/or presumptions.

        It is with awareness that we begin to consciously choose. One does not have to be "Masters of the Mind" to experience this very natural process. is a matter of awareness, and as thinking, feeling, intelligent, multi sensory, multi dimensional human beings, it is possible for all of us. All humans have the ability to create at many different levels. We have evolved beyond the concept that only "Masters of the Mind" can function in this natural way.

        If you choose to be out of your mind as much as humanly able, so be it. I prefer, and I encourage others, to be totally connected with all parts of "self":>)
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          Feb 25 2013: Hello Colleen;
          The viewpoint I am attempting to communicate is the idea of man getting out of the way and letting the intelligence that is all consciuosness, use us. It's about us getting free of Me, Myself and I and recognising that we are a part of the one life and we need each other to survive. The time for world peace is Now. The world is connected and the means are at hand. All poeple are the same inside
          Peace is in every heart. Every soldier wants to go home. The world management system needs to change.
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          Feb 25 2013: "If you choose to be out of your mind as much as humanly able, so be it. I prefer, and I encourage others, to be totally connected with all parts of "self":>)"

          And that's the rub: You can't be "connected with all parts of "self'" while connected exclusively to the one we call the conscious mind. It's only when we're willing to let go, to be out of this mind, that we're able to connect to all the others, those that reside in the Totality of the Self, the fullness of our Mind.

          We're all potentially "Masters" of the Self, but few there be that actually integrate all aspects of the Self, and the Mind. Were we so collectively adept, much of the disastrous thinking that is now threatening to destroy our world and all life on this planet would be unknown, and effete.

          Our thinking, and the creative force behind it, has brought humankind to the brink of self-annihilation.

          And who will save us: The Wise Ones among us, those whose minds aren't differentiated but act as One, as they truly are. In this world of relativity, where one thing is defined by another, we have divided our mind, somewhat discretely, just as we have divided the self into male and female, and things into up and down, hot and cold, hard and soft, and acts into good and evil, and a host of other dyads, when in fact All Things are One Thing, inclusive of mind.

          "All humans have the ability to create at many different levels. We have evolved beyond the concept that only "Masters of the Mind" can function in this natural way."

          At some level, we're all Masters of the Mind, but we can't experience being more, if we can't imagine being more, that is, knowing ourselves as more--hence the necessity of escaping that part of the Self that seems to suggest and reinforce limitations, albeit for a time--to know the Total Self, the totality of who we are.

          We can't do that in our conscious mind: This mind doesn't represent our Real Mind, and neither can it save itself from itself.
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        Feb 25 2013: Wilbert,
        We CAN be connected to everything. If you choose not to be, it's ok. It seems kind of silly to have a mind, and encourage being "out of this mind"! We all have the ability to integrate all aspects of the self and the mind, which is simply one aspect of "self". write..."in fact All Things are One Thing, inclusive of mind". Honestly Wilbert, I perceive your comments as contradicting yourself.

        If you cannot do whatever you say you cannot's ok.....and....if you think something cannot "save itself from itself" be it. Sounds pretty confused!
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          Feb 25 2013: In the end, we may have to agree to disagree, as words are severe limiters of communication. On one hand, I speak from the Absolute, and then again from the relative, in the hope that I can bridge the two with a proper transition.

          In this world, we experience two truths: A relative truth, and an Absolute truth. We generally accept that we're relative beings, but not relative beings with an Absolute existence. So to your statement that "We CAN be connected to everything," I answer, yes, we "can be," but the Greater Truth is, we're already "connected to everything," where All Things are One Thing, as indeed they are.

          It's how we arrive at this Greater Truth where we may be at odds, not that we disagree with the possibility or the potentiality. Because the conscious mind--and consciousness--are, in our collective belief, highly associated with the physical, it's near impossible to achieve the integration of the Self, and the Mind, when we're not in our Right Mind, hence the necessity of being out of our mind.

          Biblically, it's stated this way. "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God [Mind]: for it is not subject to the law of God [Mind], neither indeed can be."

          The mind that has its basis in the physical cannot save itself from itself. There are more than one way to be out of our physically-derived mind--by shutting it down altogether (not thinking), spiritualizing it (by loving), or imbuing it with Truth, the Absolute knowing of what is, and what is not (the illusion), or doing all three in sequence.

          From the perspective of Home, the Absolute, and not the Far Country, the Illusions of the Relative realm, there's nothing we need know, nothing we need do, and nothing we need have. There's nothing outside of us, as we're all that is. There's nothing we need, as we're sufficient unto ourselves, forever complete, and forever fulfilled.
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        Feb 25 2013: Wilbert,
        In my humble perception, words are not "severe limiters of communication". Sometimes, however, too many words simply muddy the water of understanding:>)

        In my humble perception....yes.....all things are connected. Are you preaching?
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      Feb 24 2013: Same goes with consciousness. Daniel Danette has very compelling argument that our consciousness is in large part physical and since it is self reflecting it is self edifying too.
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        Feb 24 2013: I think DD has a limited understanding of consciousness as he uses it exclusively as what I would call self-consciousness which indeed is that edifice you talk about. Consciousness expands as it becomes oblivious of self like as you are captured by a beautiful piece of music or a story told then you're just the observer and participate in a shared consciousness of imagination.
        The moment you remember yourself or any thought enters your mind the magic is broken and the stream of consciousness too.
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          Feb 24 2013: I can only say that self-consciousness is important because if you remove it there is no debate about supra consciousness.
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        Feb 24 2013: How can it be physical when it has no physical characteristics?
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          Feb 24 2013: Physical things can have non physical characteristics. It just has to be complex enough and we need to examine it in integrative levels. Emergence for example.
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      Feb 25 2013: David,
      I totally agree....the time for world peace is NOW:>)
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      Feb 25 2013: A man after my own heart.

      For example, I despise ideologies (the "isms"), they all lead to dogma and create mental imprisonment.

      Classic example is politics where someone cannot execute the obvious solution because it goes against their ideology. "Left wing" or "right wing", how did ornithology invade politics?!?!?

      No wonder politics is full of the absurd!

      So, the collective thinking is as bad, or maybe worse than what occurs in individuals

      Judges, who are professionally required to practice impartiality, are often able to be characterized by the history of their cases. No one can think without presumption.

      Past experience will always colour current thought, no matter how hard to try to prevent it, as that very effort will create influence of its own.
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    Feb 20 2013: No we cannot.

    Perception is constructed of experience.

    Most of this experience is personal - a very little has to do with observing outcomes for others - quite a bit has to do with pretending to believe what we are forced to percieve in order to survive the violence of humans..

    All thinking works like this: sense-->perceive(presumption)-->compare(with presumption)-->adjust-->decide-->act-->observe(sense/perciieve against adjusted presumption)-->endless loop.
    Look at this TED talk - it helps:

    Be right for you - make your own decisions based on that, but be careful that expressing your opinion does not result in you living in a gulag like the USA.
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      Feb 21 2013: Spot on, Mitch!

      The only case would be someone without any experiences, but unfortunately, that is a new born babe (we are all born "empty", as it were).... and they'll have experiences by the time they learn to talk... learning to talk being one result of some of those experiences!

      After watching that talk, obviously this boke had conquered the noise problem.... (This video blows me away!)
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        Feb 22 2013: Hi Mark,

        I thought I recognised that name!
        Unfortunately, I haven't got a warehouse full of obsolete telco gear these days - but hope the network is thriving!

        On topic:

        Ithink it has been pretty well demonstrated that the existential loop begins before birth.
        There is a lot of heated discussion about nurture/nature .. it seems endless, but actually progresses. For instance, the assumption that genes are deterministic has fallen and we now see that genetic structure continues to morph even after the moment of conception - the genetic/environmental relationship seems to be deeply inter-dependent.
        Everything still moves along causality from past to future, but the attractor remains the self. It is often very difficult to identify what a self actualy is - where it is and what its boundaries are. To this end I am working on a thesis that proposes that all selves demonstrate a membrane .. in humans we call it "skin", but in other self organising systems it is not so obvious. We will see.
        It is the rule of causality which determines presumption.
        Now, this word "presumption" has some shades of subtlety - it can include assumption.
        Assumtion is the component of perception which organises sense data into information. It can be wrong, but the Bayesian loop of observe/adjust is noise-reducing.
        The loop is not noise-eliminating, but this is not required for survival. As they say "rough enough for the bush".
        Bruce Lee demonstrates how precise this noise reduction can get.
        There is a phenomenon called "flow". It may very well be the case that if you get close enough to nil-noise, then resonance will take you the rest of the way.
        In this we might propose a gap between perception and reality - and the smaller that gap, the better served the "self" is.
        But reality is a moving feast - nothing remains gapless.
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          Feb 22 2013: I don't follow the Bruce Lee reference.
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          Feb 23 2013: G'day Mitch,

          Agree with what you're saying. The further it goes, the more it seems that this area of study is closing the gap to string theory, as the concepts appear to merge, but then again why shouldn't they, as the science of working out exactly what we are is a subset of what energy and matter are.

          More and more Mysteries and Mayhem!
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        Feb 23 2013: I've run ou of indents!! This interface needs to get with Chomski to identify the human need for recursion!!!!

        or not.

        But since we are doing it - let's do it!

        @ Fritzie (@ works!)

        The Bruce Lee thing is in Mark's link .. it's amazing!!!

        hmm .. history.
        Mark grew up in my home-town .. he was a friend of my younger brother Andy.
        Both Andy and me were musicians .. ambassadores of our home town which had a huge tradition of music.

        Andy died about 25 years ago going in search of great sunsets - and fell off a cliff doing that.

        Mark escaped the valley by conquering it, I escaped by running away to better pastures.

        Who is the best? all of us.

        I last saw Mark when I had control of a huge store of de-installed telcio gear - and I offerd some cable .. but he'd already got it sorted.


        To be a "guitar star" of Lithgow, was to be the best in the world .. When I was that statr there were 2 others - Darcy Rosser and Macca(forget his whole name - Mac was ascendant while I was descending) I seem to remember that Mark was par tof Macca's ascendance - all the technologists in a small mining town know each other.

        (Mark - you can chime-in with historical detail if I'm wrong).


        There is not way to be any kind of "star" without flow.

        I met a couple of school-mates of Bruce Lee when he was kid in Hong Kong.. They didn't like him much .. they accused him of being too friendly with the triad boys.

        But look at the link! He got flow, regardless of opinions about him - and through tyhat flow, he got some very important cultural results for HonGg Kong - before the Chinese re-takover!!! great result!

        But he got his ass killed in the proccess . too late. He wins.


        It's self-discipline beyond what anyone wants except you - and if you get it, you join the flow of everything .. and you cannot lose.

        I reccomend it. It got me beyond human - for a few years.

        But that's all it takes to be a human.
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          Feb 23 2013: Okay, I will look at the link.

          Bruce Lee is buried at the local cemetery and gets a constant stream of visitors from all over the world.
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          Feb 25 2013: G'day Mitch,

          Macca's full name was John McKinney. Others around that era were Dave Boyling, Gary Shirt and Sid Whalan.

          We're probably hijacking thread with this, so I'll keep the "Lithgow muso" history to a that.. We should probably reconnect via email.

          Also the thread has gone off on a tangent somewhat with the neuro-feedback topic, but that is very much related, so I'll add the following:

          The guitar is an instrument that is very "intimate" with the player (not the only one). Beethoven remarked on the instrument, as it was both portable and polyphonic, but he didn't play it as far as I know.

          The intimacy comes with the ability to play between tones by bending notes (you are not bound to discrete "steps" as you are on a piano), and also the variations of tone and harmonics available by subtle techniques on both hands. It is infinite variation.

          This is why it has moved from restrictive "integer based" classical to the newer forms of music from blues, jazz and others.

          As such, you can reach a point where the instrument virtually becomes an extension of you, and the ultimate in expression. It transcends "hitting the groove". As you say, flow. You don't think about the neurofeedback on your fingers, but what is in your thoughts can instantly become sound.

          Adding electronics can enhance this, but it can also detract.

          Hendrix, probably the greatest example of flow.

          He couldn't read music, didn't practice ("That's why I make so many mistakes, man") and experimented instead.

          He actually added the amplifier as a part of the instrument, not just something that makes the instrument louder. He only had simple electronics, but, as has John Phillips said, you could watch him like a hawk, but still not work out how he was doing it.

          Pure flow!
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        Feb 26 2013: Yes - the tangents can get distracting. But I've found they can lead to new ways of "re-entry" into a specific topic.
        THis is the great power of neural processing - associations build-up into clusters. Such clusters can have multiple entry and exit poitns .. in a matured cluster, the entry point dictates the exit point on the path from stimulus to action. We have a word for association clusters with multiple entry/exit points - it is "intelligence".

        When an association cluster becomes reliable, it develops a key nexus point - this is what mirror neurons are. "Reliable" meaning small deviation between prediction and observation (low noise).
        Once a cluster gains this status, it is only addressed through the nexus - it becomes "subconscious".
        These things build up in layers and can form hierarchies. Messy ones. Each node in the hierarchy is still accessible to direct adjustment and development, but is only looked-at if the niose floor increases.
        Tool-mapping works like this - and you are spot-on. The full mastery of a tool is defined by a comprehensive cluster of associative maps concerning experience of that tool.
        In effect, it becomes part of the body. In this way Bruce Lee can use nun-chucks as easily and asaccurately as his own forefinger. Also Hendrix with his guitar and amp.
        We see this in the "monkey with 3 arms" experiment.
        A tool differs from the body in only one aspect. A tool is fully entropised - a body-part is adaptive and negentropic. For instance, the more I use a muscle, the more it adapts to the task - it becomes part of the noise reduction loop. This is not absolute - all musicians know the phenomenon of "playing-in" an instrument - a Stradivarius played badly will become a bad violin, played well, it becomes a masterpiece. However, it is only a faint effect, the adaptive interactions within the skin are easily observed.
        This is going to become a major issue with the development of AI. Within-loop potentiation.
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      Feb 21 2013: I agree that information recieved will be filtered mentally before it gets sent to decision-making and experiences affects how and what information gets filtered.But does that mean we are confined by our expriences or these perceptions? thanks for the videos guys!
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        Feb 21 2013: No Amily, we are NOT confined by our experiences unless we choose to be. I perceive that as a very limiting perspective. If we are mindfully aware, we can indeed "think without any presumptions". It is actually much more interesting to do so:>)
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          Feb 21 2013: Yes ,we get confined when we choose to .The thing is sometimes we are not so concious and aware of what are some of these presumptions. Being more mindfully aware could be a way to detect them I agree.
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        Feb 21 2013: I agree Amily....sometimes we are not so conscious and aware of what may be presumptions, so we don't even know they are influencing our thought patterns. When we KNOW ourselves, and are familier with our thoughts, feelings, ideas, perspectives, etc., we KNOW if personal bias and/or presumptions are influencing our thought process. We can then either choose to continue to allow the presumptions to influence us.....or not. If we do not know they are influencing our thought process, we probably cannot do anything about it. So, that is the first step...."know thyself":>)

        To David Hubbard. Sorry I could not comment anywhere else to keep this in sequence.
        I am with you and most of your perspectives..."knowing thyself" can be much more than knowing our thoughts, feelings and perspectives...we can be conscious in the present the NOW we can connect o universal consciousness....this is the source for peace and wisdom, which springs from love. We don't need to believe in a god to experience all of which you insightfully express.
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          Feb 24 2013: Hello Colleen. I agree with your viewpont to a great extent. However, it can be found that "knowing thyself" can be much more than knowing our thoughts, feelings and perspectives. It can be realized that we are consciuosness in this timeless, present moment. When we are free of time, we are free of thought, which is all time based. In "the Now" we can connect to Universal Consciousness, Source, or whatever designation you may use for the eternal. This is the source of Peace, Wisdom and Love, and the Joy of knowing Oneness with all Life. In the Christian nomeclature; "Be still and know that you are God."
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        Feb 21 2013: Don't make the mistake that mind and body are separate - or indeed that there is any such thing as "soul".

        It is all one.

        It is true that there are different layers to our organism - have a look at this:

        This shows how our identity can rest in various places - and how thought can be mistaken for the autobiographical chatter.
        Even beyond brains, the body is also composed of adaptive systems.

        But there is no personal "self" beyond the existential loop which orbits your survival.
        That loop is adaptive - sense-->percieve-->compare-->evaluate-->act-->repeat.

        It might be useful to have fantasies about "spirit" but there is no evidence for it.
        Certainly there are probably fields and forces which go beyond the recognised senses, but they will still resolve to experience.
        On top of that, there are emergent selves in which we participate - I count "community" as a self, I also count ecology as a self.

        These can all be appreciated, but your personal self remains you.
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          Feb 21 2013: Mitch,
          Are you responding to me? To Amily? Neither of us wrote anything about seperating body and mind, and I do not see any reference to "soul" or "spirit".

          The topic question is...."Can we think without any presumptions?"
          I have no idea where you are trying to go with this.
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          Feb 24 2013: Hi Mitch。Yes ,body and mind are interconnected and so do all the different layers in that loop process you mentioned.Spirit? Why?
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          Feb 24 2013: Hi Mitch; The proof for "the Spirit" is you. It is the invisible, timeless life that makes you different from a dead body. It's what leaves hen we die as a human. There is a limit to human communication. With it, we can exchange viewponts, but we cannot open the mind of another. We can only point. The body/mind complex, is held in place by our imaginary self called ego. It is a human aspect. The being aspect is Life and that is what we essentially are.
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        Feb 22 2013: @colleen

        The reply was to Amily - you can see by the indents.
        THese threads run-out of indents, in such cases i use the "@" convention to indicate.
        Given that - can you allow Amily to respond for herself?
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          Feb 22 2013: Thanks for clarifying Mitch. As you well know, everyone and anyone can respond to comments freely:>)
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        Feb 26 2013: @Amily,

        Spirit is a difficult word. The best i can do is to reduce it to "awareness". The way i map it is that awareness is distinct from "consciousness"
        This seems to satisfy all definitions.
        For instance, one can map the synaptic topology in a brain at any given time, but it is not the topology that is thought - it is not even the electro-chemical signal which flows though that topology.
        It is the flux of topological potential. Potential beign a propensity for change .. as it becomes change, it discharges from the potential to the actual - creating new potential.
        But there's a problem there - thought and consciousness require memory - the balance of the actual to the potential with a specific time-span extending before and after the instant.
        So it is useful to maintain the notion of awareness which exists on the very leading edge of teh instant. I argue that all thing manifest have this leading edge - i.e. awareness. So, to me, "spirit" in its most reduced form is the root potential of everything manifest. This includes everthing we regard as physical .. rocks, atoms, sub atomic particles, photions. But it does not include the un-manifest - ghosts, political systems - things that are extrinsic to the experiential self.


        Largely agree. Except that "ego" is a construct of teh autobiographical self - it is part of our comunication system .. as far as i can tell, it is not so much the imaginary "agents" that we create but the template which we use to create them .. the "self-image" .. it's an accumulated set of "deltas" - maps from the core self to the autobiographical.
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      Feb 26 2013: If thinking is mostly true, then it would follow that our thinking is corrupted. Possibly it would therefore be wise to relate to our limitless being rather than our temporary little self. There must, most surely be a source of the life that we are and this unlimited perfect cosmos. It must one hell of a lot smarter than us.
      Einstien said "I only want to see the mind of God. All else is details." Smart old boy.
  • Mar 15 2013: You should read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn or a summary thereof. In short, assumptions are needed so that specific things can be tested; when enough new and contradictory evidence is gathered assumptions can be adjusted if necessary to allow an increase in the scope of the model's explanatory power. Such a change in assumptions is called a paradigm shift.
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    Mar 15 2013: No. We need presumptions, and it is in our nature to make them. Humans are innately ignorant. Because we have to function without a knowing the true nature of everything around us we make presumptions to cope, and these become the foundations of our beliefs. With reason and observation we can make our beliefs as close to reality as we can, but we will never get there. Without our presumptions we have no framework in which to reason about our experience.
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      Mar 15 2013: Scott,
      I, and many others do not "need presumptions", nor do I agree that "humans are innately ignorant. If, as you say, we "make presumptions to cope", and "these become the foundations of our beliefs", what happens if/when we change our presumptions?

      You say...."we will never get there". I suggest that "there", is "here"...."now". When we live in the moment of "now", the presumptions we have created to "cope" may not be needed. With "reason and observation", we can realize that our presumptions were only created to "cope", and perhaps we can move beyond the coping mechenism of our preconceived presumptions to a more broad view of the life experience. Without our presumptions, we have a much broader, unlimited framework in which to reason and experience:>)
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        Mar 15 2013: I never said presumptions are set in stone. Beliefs aren't set in stone either and I think its is very healthy to questions ones beliefs and presumptions.

        I do however stand by my statement that humans are innately ignorant. I didn't mean to be insulting. Remember, ignorance is simply lack of knowledge. If you are not omniscient, then you are, to some degree, ignorant. My acceptance of my own ignorance is important to my sense of humility.

        We all have beliefs that unproven. Some are metaphysical. Is there a reality, or is all of this just a dream? Are other people conscious? Am I conscious? Is there such a thing as free will, and if not what does it mean to be responsible for one's actions?

        Others unproven beliefs are responses to questions about people and society. Should I trust the body of knowledge I am taught in school, even though I have not seen the evidence? Should I trust what I'm taught in church? Is it safe to invest in the financial system? Is this person in front of me being honest? Is the cost of education worth it?

        We make decisions without the benefit of evidence and proof every day, and we do it by making presumptions. That's what I meant when I said presumptions are a way of coping with ignorance.
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          Mar 15 2013: Scott,
          I totally agree that it is healthy, and desirable in my perception, to question ones beliefs and presumptions. We, as individuals, are as "conscious", mindful and aware as we choose to be.

          I stand by my statement that I do not agree that humans are ignorant, because, it is as you say...."ignorance is simply lack of knowledge". If we are willing to question our presumptions and consider new information, what happens to our presumptions? That, to me, is the sticky wicket:>) People get "stuck" in presemptions, do not question them, and live their whole life with the same presumptions.

          As you explain your perception now, yes, I agree...presumptions are a way of coping with ignorance. I don't put all humans in that catagory:>)

          You will, as an individual, trust whatever information you choose to trust:>)
    • Mar 16 2013: Certain questions can only be answered with presumptions. Also, presumptions can provide a starting point for discussions and debate. Presumptions create our human realities.
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    Mar 9 2013: no thats logic ....the trick to logic is thinking of all assumptions at once
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      Mar 15 2013: Excellent one sentence answer!
  • Dan F

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    Feb 28 2013: Why would you want to think without any presumptions?

    What is the meaning of being educated? Is it not to realize many things in life are black or white, true or false, rational or irrational, etc. My point is presumptions are not necessarily a bad thing or automatically up for dispute. To speak intelligently to someone about a field of study shared is most productive when certain things are considered factual and presumed true.

    This is called intelligent interaction. Admittedly some presumptions are more subject to question, but that is a far cry from dismissing all presumptions. I think I understand where you are coming from especially in the soft sciences, but you are making a categorical statement, which I dispute as having value in terms of trying to grasp difficult, or emotional concepts or ideas which may enable some self actualization.

    As a young ski instructor I came face to face with the dilemma of getting new skiers to presume certain things in order to do certain things. In this case to be comfortable is not to presume my suggestions, but rely on automatic instincts. Trust me, your instincts can hold you back. True adventure involves presumptions, despite how uncomfortable or seemingly unfair that acknowledgment may be. The results of leaving your comfort zone can truly be enlightening.
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      Mar 1 2013: Hi Dan I understand that presumptions are not necessarily bad.But it could sometimes make people fail to to take things as they are as well. Since I realise that "what it is" could be merely another form of not taking it for what it is.

      Interaction is quite a complicated process intelligent or not. Presumptions derive from experience dismiss information goes against it and seek for justifications and even creat reality that in turn reinfores them.
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      Mar 1 2013: Hi Dan and Amily,
      I LOVE thinking without presumptions....with the curiosity of a child learning something for the first time. I usually realize what information is "presumption", and can think beyond the presumption to new information if/when appropriate.

      I don't see Amily saying that presumptions are a bad thing, I don't observe her "dismissing all presumptions", nor is she making a "categorical statement". She is asking questions, which in my humble perception, is how we get information and move beyond presumptions.

      To use your excellent example of skiing Dan.....
      I also have been a skier most of my life, and I've experienced the changes in equipment, which facilitates a change is technique. As a young person, I learned to keep the knees and feet tight together...the legs were like one:>) With the new shaped skies, the technique changed and we needed to seperate the skies a bit, while weighting both skies more. I had one friend who COULD NOT adjust to the new equipment. He said he kept crossing his tips!!! He presumed that he could continue with the same technique, even though the equipment was very different, and he could not let go of his presumption/preference so he stopped skiing!

      In my perception and experience, true adventure, involves having an open heart and mind unclouded with presumptions, and THAT is leaving your comfort zone, which, as you insightfully say, can be truly enlightening:>)
      • Dan F

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        Mar 3 2013: Hi Amily and Coleen,

        I agree that this is the overriding negative connotation of presumptions, but I'm still going to stand my ground. My point is that presumptions not only describes the referenced old lady contention, "nobody is right but me," but individuals of intellectual adventure and achievement as well. Presumptions can be important building blocks to higher learning.

        It's our upbringing (religion, etc.,) that tend to smother the thought process because it can impact our sense of curiosity which is vital to being open minded, willing and able to think things over. This may be more personal than generally recognized, but I associate presumptions with the thought process. It is not enough to be open minded you must also be experimental and receptive to new knowledge, ideas, suppositions, etc.

        Implicit in developing an intellect is having ideas, views, etc., It's what makes us more interesting - well hopefully. I certainly have bias and my share of presumptions, but I'd like to think I can defend my reasons for having them.
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          Mar 3 2013: Hi Dan,
          I'm not sure what "ground" you are standing. I agree that "Presumptions can be important building blocks to higher learning." That is what I've been saying right along:>)
          It all depends on being more....or less....conscious of a thought being a presumption/bias.
          I agree that information given to us by parents, society, religions, etc. impacts our curiosity, sometimes stifles an open mind, and often forms our presumptions/biases.
  • Feb 26 2013: It is important to realize that we first have to reflect on thinking, as an attempt to feel the boundary of the ballon - we are in - from the inside! First of all our thinking refers to different experiences, if you ask someone "Whar do you think about thos---?" some would give a feeling, some would give an emotion, some would give an idea, some would give a theory , some would quote Shakespeare. Thinking is a proces that embodies feeling, bodily processes (like neuro movements, muscle contraction, heart beat, sweating, hormons, stomach recation etc.) and so called mental processes. It is so connected to our neuro body that we are completely mislead by our acustomed Cartesian mind body models. As long as we use these mechanical concepts it is no use. People will say "I know that all" but instaneously think in res cogitans like ways. Our body is so involved in our thinking that the whole separation of mind and body is obsolete. Thoughts that we have in our system, are connecetd to our awardsystems that produces endorphines. Thoughts are like habits that want to be repeated. (see David Bohm)They reach that by their endorphine strategy. Most of the time you think you are thinking, you basically repeat thoughts (past tense of thinking) , while they give you the impression you actively think them!! Real thinking is done in good dialog not in discussion or debate , you can also learn to observe your thinking. Thirdly presumptions are essential in our live, We have to many possibilities to leave things open. Our image and knowledge of the world is based on presumptions. The point is that most of the time we do not investigate our presumptions. If i say that you have to live a life that makes you happy, then we have a lot of presumptions, which rest on presumption and so on. We will find out some core presumptions which we agree or disagree on, or which we like or dislike. Culture is the organisation of our innerworld, it consist of assumptions: lets dialog good ones!
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    Feb 26 2013: I love questions like this :-)

    Before we begin, do we know what thinking means? Or do we think we know?

    OK, *presuming* that we know what thinking means... scratch, scratch...

    “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” Alan Watts
  • Feb 26 2013: No. We all need a framework to understand the universe.
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      Feb 26 2013: Who says we need a framework to understand Walter? I find the framework (presumptions) of conventional wisdom to be sometimes limiting. When we think outside the box (framework) we sometimes get a LOT more information and can understand more. Thinking and feeling beyond our established presumptions is much more my humble experience... It's always a choice. I prefer to let go of presumptions, think outside the established framework of conventional wisdom, and explore other possibilities:>)
  • Feb 26 2013: I think it is good to have presumptions*. (conditions apply)

    We should make assumption based on our past experiences. Iff the assumptions are logically correct, it is good to have those.
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    Feb 24 2013: Presumptions are a necessary part of thinking freely, without getting too stuck in the past or the present.

    Some presumptions hit the nail, some don't, and I end up hitting my own thumb. But that pain is good learning - possibly the best of all.
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      Feb 24 2013: Hi Allan,
      I agree that we can use presumptions as a learning "tool", when/if we do not get "stuck" in the presumption.
      To do that, we need to be aware that the thought IS a presumption.....yes? If the only tool we have is a hammer, we see everything as a nail! LOL:>)

      Often, presumptions ("expect or assume with confidence; to suppose to be true without proof; to take for granted") reflect personal bias. If we are stuck with our own idea of personal bias based on presumptions, we may miss the opportunity to learn something from the thought/presumption, which becomes our one and only truth? I think when that happens, it gets in the way of learning anything.
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        Feb 25 2013: Hi Colleen,

        I wonder if truths can only exist within consensus?

        I guess the seed of an idea or 'truth' has to start somewhere in the mind of someone thinking outside the boundaries of conventional wisdom - an individual - which then can convert from a personal truth into a broader one by seeking (and being open to) such consensus.

        But then there's the pitfall of confirmation bias - which is probably a precursor of rigid belief systems and faith...

        Thinking without presumption I guess depends on a lot of receptiveness and openness - and the courage to admit to being wrong - a difficult thing to maintain when confronted by those who seem very 'closed' within their own beliefs.
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          Feb 25 2013: Dear Allan,
          I'm pondering/thinking without presumptions...LOL:>)

          Can truths only exist within consensus?

          "Truths" are based on information we have been given, which we accept as truth....yes?

          Everyone's perception of "truth" may be different depending on what information s/he is given and accepts?

          I would say that a person's "truth" certainly can be reinforced within consenses. With the information I have at this time, I agree with you that the seed of an idea may start somewhere in the mind of someone thinking outside the boundaries of conventional wisdom, and that individual would probably seek reinforcment? Then again.....I believe everything is interconnected, and information is recycled, so is there any original thought?

          I wholeheartedly agree that thinking without presumption needs receptiveness and openness. If we are receptive and open, it may take less "courage" to explore with an open heart and mind when confronted by those who seem very closed within their own beliefs/presumptions:>)
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    Feb 23 2013: Trying to force yourself to not have presumptions can still result in using them but think of the following simple example.

    A father employs his son in a business, but does not want to create a "boss's son" scenario, where he shows favour and results in disgruntling other employees. Often, in real life, this ends up with the father being harder on his son than the others, and he has not nullified the impact of the family relationship, but reversed it.

    We are not as in control as we may think!
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    Feb 20 2013: We need some presumption otherwise it would take 4 hours to get out of bed in the morning. The problems arise when we make unfounded presumptions and use them to the detriment of ourselves or others. I presume that the 100m final at the next Olympics will be contested between athletes who are all of African decent. This is a presumption based on passed experience which could be characterised as racist but some racial distinction are well founded and in this case it's a positive distinction. When you hold onto a presumption in spite of conflicting evidence, then you have a problem.
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    Feb 20 2013: Hi Amily,
    Yes, we can think without presumptions, and it allows us to connect with much more information. When we let go of presumptions, assumptions, speculations, bias and judgment we can experience a free flowing thought/feeling process. Once we label something or someone with presumptions or bias, we limit the expansion of our thoughts, which influences our feelings, which impacts the experience. I would not deny myself the opportunity to explore without presumptions (limitations).
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      Feb 21 2013: Hi Colleen!!Glad to see you again!!

      Yes, our mind could be limited by presumptions or bias and I can see the importance of being open-minded that you mentioned.:D
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        Feb 21 2013: Hi Amily....great to see you again's been awhile! open mind and heart are important elements if we choose to NOT allow presumptions or bias to influence our thought process:>)
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    Feb 20 2013: The culture in the U.S. has become one where the only transgression is to have some prejudice. Because of the push to not be prejudice against Blacks, Women, Homosexuals, the culture frowns on anything that is not "politically correct".

    The problem with this is that you are not supposed to place any value on anything as this would give you bias.

    The reality is that reasoning requires determining differences and valuing things according to there differences. The lack of determining differences is the very definition of stupidity.
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      Feb 20 2013: It is the duty of every living organism to discern - survival depends on it at the very base.
      Every organism must do this, and live or fall by discernment - and no one is qualified to judge beyond survival.
      In fact - any organism that presumes to usurp the judgement of the individual is a dangerous predator.

      If you happen to be a dangerous predator, it will not go well if you advertise the fact overtly.

      Even sharks need company from time to time.

      We don't like them, but predation has been proven to support population health in the predated.

      Bit of this, bit of that .. no man lives by bread alone .. blood is a welcome relief if you are that way inclined - others subsist on the ocaisional locust - or carob dropped by crows ;)
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    Feb 20 2013: People will not be free of biases and presumptions, even if we are quite attentive to the fact. Daniel Kanheman's research and Nobel address are on this subject.

    "Confirmation bias" in particular is a human trait, which is to say that people tend in gathering information and learning to notice, retain, and interpret what they experience in such a way as to support what they already believe or what they want to believe. Again, people will tend to do this to some degree, psychologists have found, even if they are consciencious about trying to test their assumptions. There will still tend to be non-trivial gaps.

    The more people want to believe something, the less critical they often are in reviewing the relevant data critically and the more adamant they are that they are, in fact, reviewing the data critically!
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      Feb 20 2013: OK, you just made me look up presumption, assumption and bias. They are not interchangeable and have distinct uses. I do not think you can stop presumptions, or your understanding of truth, without some serious self reflection. I think it is easier to set aside assumptions and biases.
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        Feb 20 2013: As the words presumption and bias were both used in the question and elaboration, I went broad in my reply.

        I agree that serious self-reflection is a key part of minimizing presumptions and, in fact, biases, and that a disposition to scrutinize the assumptions one is making and that others are making is an important part of critical thinking.

        Unchallenged assumptions and presumptions tend to be key in sending thoughts in an often poorly supported direction.
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    Feb 17 2013: There is a great TED talk about Beauty being genetically encoded into us. The example used was that of a savannah. Even people that were raised in deserts believed it to be beautiful. The general idea is that we have evolved to understand that a savanna means food, water, and basic survival. If we take this premise as true then we may conclude that we have genetic presumptions. Our neocortex would build ideas based on these genetic presumptions and society would develop.

    It would be interesting to verify this idea and then, if proven true, to determine what else we have hard encoded into us. Music seems to be universal, and I have learned recently that nighttime insect noise is also soothing to us. Perhaps because as we slept, if the insect noise stopped, we would wake up and know something was wrong. So we evolved to think it was pleasant.

    That aside, I believe we evolved to make sense of the world we live in and genetics in combination with experience create heuristics that allow us to build on our life. So, can we think without ANY presumptions? I would conclude not.

    But, I would say that our evolved ability to consciously question and analyze will allow us to verify our presumptions. OR more importantly...... to think, not without presumptions, but of the presumptions themselves. Easier said than done. I find it easier to ask others "What are my presumptions? Because, I am to close to them to see them."

    Oh, and BTW. That is an open invitation to anyone reading my posts. If you see an error in my presumption please feel free to point it out or add a different view point. I do like other viewpoints. IF they can be followed up with evidence and solid reasoning. :)
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      Feb 21 2013: the savannah example is interesting ,need to watch it.Ha, "Im too close to them to see them".thats really true.thanks for sharing Leo!
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    Feb 17 2013: Radical thinkers, IMO, can think without very little or no presumptions. The very basis of thinking is experience and reflection both of which carry some personal bias to an extent otherwise how can that thought be original? I think it is not a thinker's job to be very critical about his personal bias as long as logic and insights are given due chance in the expression.
    The free thinking follows this route: First it presents as fairly and neutrally as possible the account of prevailing thoughts on a subject and then it presents the thinker's original input clearly taking responsibility of the expression. The evaluation should be left with the observers.
    • Feb 21 2013: I think that this is a very interesting comment, as it indicates that in fact a personal bias is not necessarily a 'bad thing' fact, an original thinker may in part be driven by intuition, which may be another way of saying 'personal bias' and may lead to virgin territory...
      a lot of 'mays' I know!
      "as long as logic and insights are given due chance..." this is the crucial qualifier. Intuition needs to be questioned by logic, thoroughly. They dance together, I think.

      I understand from a friend who is an engineer that using agreed presumptions is a necessary part of their work. So perhaps it is the unconscious or subconscious presumptions that are potentially misleading influences ? or conflict making? But one could argue that many things remaining subconscious can cause mischief...
  • Feb 17 2013: No, we are not. We all live in this planet where the people are made of other people but don't like to admit that. But leaving that for other talk, I must say that most of the people cannot think without see the good side for them and we many times judge the other just thinking in what we think that it is right or wrong and shouldn't do that because we can all be human beings but no one has a life as the life of the other so we never have the right of judge when we don't know what is behind... The big problem is that some times, (to many times i think), i are not abble to see and note that.
  • Mar 16 2013: Sometimes our presumptions provide closure such as in "missing and presumed to be dead." We don't say someone is missing and it's anyone's guess as to whether or not they are alive. When someone is "missing in action", things can be more open-ended, but presumptions are made....they might not be dead, they could have been captured by the enemy, they have been taken to a hospital and not yet found...but without presumptions we are left hanging in the air.
    Presumptions also provide us with a baseline to operate in the "presumption of innocence". If we were to say guilty until proved innocent you can imagine for ourself how that would change the jury process. At the very least presumptions provide us comfort, closure and protection, when used well, but presumptions can also work against us, as in the case of personal bias. We are as humans hard-wired to make presumptions, it's impossible for us not to. Everyone has some personal bias, if we didn't have bias, we'd listen to what everyone tells us with the same weight....but we don't....we made judgements and presumptions often that "the experts" have a better understanding of what to do and how to do it.....whatever it might be. If someone has a strong conviction about something, presumptions are usually are unlikely to believe or even listen to someone that has the opposite view....yet they may have a point to make that has value. My point is that be careful with presumptions we make on a personal level and realize that no one is free of making presumptions....can you think of anyone?
  • Mar 16 2013: We presume that the experience of reality provides reliable data. Everything else is built on this.
  • Mar 14 2013: Reckon a computer is the closest we come. Yet it is programmed, so only computations which can be construed and actually differentiated from the definition of "thinking" So an interesting quandary is elicited indeed! Thank you
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    Mar 13 2013: only as a baby born with zero relativity and zero axioms could think without presumptions. Otherwise all presumptions are projected onto the other person
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    Mar 13 2013: "Justice is blind" blind towhat?
    I hope not compassion, I hope not my situation.
    it is contradictory for the naturally biased (us-humans) to state that Justice is unbiased.
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    Mar 13 2013: I think that we can't presuming you think we can.
  • Mar 12 2013: .... No.
  • Mar 10 2013: No we can't......we presume things based on our a way u can say that it's past only which helps one in making any presumption and decision.....i

    Talking of biasness... it's in our psychology that we take things in our way....sometime this positive attitude helps us and sometimes not...

    But ya presumptions helps us in learning from ones mistakes....!!!!
  • Mar 10 2013: Every time we think with thought, we need perception first, after that we analyze, and re-thinking to draw conclusions appropriate to the conditions and needs. Presumption will produce great creativity and Prejudice is good, it will produce a creative instincts. If you wish, please visit , hope there is inspiration there. Since the beginning of the technology developed on the presumption of a need in the future. Thanks for your trust....
  • Mar 8 2013: No, a blank slate leaves nothing to draw from. Bad analogy but the logic behind it is sound. No presumptions means you never learned anything. How we judge things is impossible without prior knowledge to draw inferences from. Creativity is adaptation.
  • Mar 8 2013: I am not so sure about what you actually mean by thinking.
    I am attempting to actually define the concept of "thinking" ...

    So, can one really observe one's own thinking as a completely objective in Theravada meditation? or is this also in itself an aspect of thinking?

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "thinking" as:
    1. : the action of using one's mind to produce thoughts

    The Encyclopedia Britannica defines "thought" as:
    thought, covert symbolic responses to stimuli that are either intrinsic (arising from within) or extrinsic (arising from the environment). Thought, or thinking, is considered to mediate between inner activity and external stimuli.

    In everyday language, the word thinking covers several distinct psychological activities. It is sometimes a synonym for “tending to believe,” especially with less than full confidence (“I think that it will rain, but I am not sure”). At other times it denotes the degree of attentiveness (“I did it without thinking”) or whatever is in consciousness, especially if it refers to something outside the immediate environment

    Shakespeare says:
    “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

    William James says:
    ‘A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.’
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    Mar 8 2013: my answer; No it is not possible to think w/out presumptions or bias. i think that's one of the things that qualify us as humans.
    "Justice is blind."(justice is blind to prejudice and compassion) If justice is blind then how can humans decide what is just?
  • Mar 5 2013: IMO, the key word in your question is "any".

    When thinking about a particular issue we can certainly reduce the presumptions, but to eliminate them altogether would be impossible. You would have to completely segregate your thinking from the internal model of the universe that you are constantly maintaining. Your thinking would then be outside of any context and would be meaningless.

    Try a thought experiment. Consider a thinking machine. Could a machine think with zero presumptions? I cannot imagine how this would be possible. It would be possible to have experiences, and assimilate information with no presumptions, but thinking requires meaningful content. In a machine it would be possible to limit its input to facts, but you can imagine the human arguments over what is a fact and what is not. There have been such arguments in TED conversations. (Is the Theory of Evolution a fact?)

    Also consider the differences between human thinking and machine thinking. In a human all brain activity is related to our values, which are based on biological needs. A machine would not have this complication. Due to this difference, it would be impossible for a machine to duplicate the thinking of a human, or vice versa.

    The question of personal bias is a very different question. We all have some personal bias, some people more than others. Due to the nature of personal bias we are not good judges of our own bias. (National Public Radio has made repeated attempts at finding its own bias and fails every time.) We can become aware of own bias and we can produce objective methods to help find our bias. One method is to count all the different words in your writing and compare your counts with the counts of other people.

    Fortunately there are many of us. Instead of futilely trying to eliminate presumptions and bias from our thinking, we can make positive use of many different points of view.

    By the way, that lady was wrong. Nobody is right but me.
  • Mar 5 2013: No, not for the most part. Presumption and prejudice are fundamental to the human being in allowing it to make vital decisions in accordance with his innate survival mechanisms. Par example, every bad experience and every negative remark on something is most probably deeply stowed away in a human's mind affecting any future decisions he or she makes.
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    Mar 4 2013: No.
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    Mar 3 2013: The answer is mostly no.
    The only person who can do this is a new born. And as soon as an older sibling places a lemon peel in his mouth, he has a preconception and a presumption. And I am not sure anyone has confirmed this point.
    How can we possibly "think" and not be effected by our experiences. A wag once said that a wise man is the guy that touched the hot stove the most times. A smart man is the one who asks the wise man about stove touching.
  • Mar 3 2013: Thinking with preconceptions is Unconscious thinking.
    Thinking without preconceptions is Conscious thinking.
    The mind may be your slave or your master........
    If you are not the mind, then who are you?
  • Mar 3 2013: Let’s think what it would mean to think without presumptions. At it’s most extreme it would seem to mean “to think only using ideas that are logically justified”. The problem then becomes “Which ideas can be logically justified?”.

    There are certain things that we (nearly?) all agree on and depend on as the foundation of out thinking, yet I am unsure can be proved logically from the available evidence. Certainly I would not know how to prove them. For example, “The physical world I experience is real”. I could in theory be a brain in a tank being given artificial stimulation to mimic the real world – or a computer simulation of a brain also being stimulated.

    The possibilities seem endless. If that is the case then the process of thinking even a simple thought without presumption would be equally endless and therefore impossible on practical grounds.
  • Mar 1 2013: David Hume said that self "tends to overlay itself on the world." This speaks to David's point to be sure, and to Amily's old lady as well. And it speaks to Amily's last question about whether otr not we are good judges of our own pre (or mis) conceptions; nope, we are awful at it. Sorry Amily, but your old lady is the norm, not the exception...

    That aside, how do we avoid preconcepts or misconcepts in our own thought process? I think Amily has made that first and most crucial step on her own, by questioning conceptualization in the first place. The most likely place to find misconceptions is at the junction of knowledge and hubris. There was a study done where three groups were asked to complete a basic construction task; the first group was engineers, the second was laymen and engineers, and the third was all laymen. Who completed the task best and fastest? The third group, of course. Group One was fraught with power struggles and competing ideas, fracturing the team and stretching out planning to the detriment of actual work time, the second group deferred to the pros immediately, who did everything like they usually do; ideas debated, plans drawn, then executed, then revamped, etc. Group 3, lacking preconcepts on methodology, just started, improvised as they went and engineered on the fly.

    So I differ with Elizabeth in that I find preconceptualization to often be counter-productive, and unlike her I cannot leave that in the neutral column. I find as David did,our slavish devotion to ego ill suited to community decisions or results. Be it religious edicts, social "norms", or faddish trend, preconceptions are almost universally stunting,even if not actually misconceptions (which they so often are). I try to remember that as I talk to Tea Party folks, but even I am not perfect... :)
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      Mar 3 2013: I agree with you, Scott, that people are not at all good judges of their preconceptions and misconceptions. There is research in psychology on this point, but any of us probably notices that those who are most confident that they are without presumption and careful to verify any assumptions they make are also most prone to cling to the presumptions and biases they are so sure do not exist in them.

      Daniel Kahneman is one scholar who has done research in this area.
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    Mar 1 2013: Without a doubt. Definitely. Ignorance is so-called "bliss", only because anyone could spend a lifetime imagining or thinking their own presumptions, while believing that they are the only one knowledgeable.
    Free and open-minded thinking leads to high potential productivity in everyone.
    But don't just take my word for it...ask a child.
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    Feb 28 2013: I think people won't be able to function without presumptions, but I think that people can learn to open up their curiosity to peg their own presumptions to a more factual basis of understanding.

    Biases, on the other hand, are much different. According to '' Biases are, whereas Presumptions are
    In my personal understanding, biases are an external form of presumptions for a target group with the use of behavior, words, or things. Like Fox News. Presumptions are internal thoughts about things in reality that are only external by our appearance of self and use of language without a target group, but based on our understanding, it can be skewed, so examining our presumptions are healthy. Be aware of presumptions and shave down the tree of biases because humans are opinionated, so conflict will occur, and I usually prefer to avoid conflict if I am distant enough.

    Edit: In addition, we can't function without presumptions because we won't be able to understand simple things without previous presumptions of it, like I presume that hitting the buttons on this machine will translate onto the screen I'm looking at currently because I have tried it and I have proved it to myself. =)
  • Feb 27 2013: Human beings are formed throughout what is sometimes referred to as one's formative years and whether it was through nature or nurture or even a combination of both that one got the most,one acquires their basic principle for life in character,attitude,perception,value,preferences etc that defines their personality .
    On the basis of this fundamental reference point or points,is where a person starts to think and therefore will mostly be guided on several decision directional paths by their personal biases for example in their associations,opinions,decisions etc.even when there exists a professional laid down manual that seeks to shout objectivity to our person in the most explicit of terms as is in the professional and corporate arena.
    In short,we are never free from personal biases until we can move a step beyond our own persona and evaluate ourselves and the environment(in this case, whatever we're thinking about) as if we were another.
    This is the only time I believe one can be as objective(without any trace of personal bias) as is humanly and realistically possible.
  • Feb 27 2013: Thanks : ) I think these days that one of the best survival skills is learn how to navigate through the incessant flow of information that we encounter daily. And in order to actually make use of all these contradicting complexities without being swept away, we need to have a strong but supple connection to our inner core. And it isn't just information that can sweep us away, but our own obsessive clinging to presumptions that carry us down a dark path where we hadn't initially intended upon going.
  • Feb 27 2013: Lol amazing Colleen Steen,we have the same thinkings and the same values of our lives.cheers!
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    Feb 27 2013: I think, there is a way to think without presumptions. To do that, we need to admit that our opinion is always biased.

    This idea may seem self-refuting, but this is how it works in many other areas: in science, to prove that theory is correct, we must do our best to prove it wrong. Any moral judgment is hypocritical unless we admit our own hypocrisy.

    This is my biased opinion which appears reliable to me.
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      Feb 27 2013: Hi Arkady,
      I believe there is a way to think without presumptions too, and that may involve recognition of our presumptions and biases. I suggest that once we recognize them for what they are, we can use them as a learning tool and move our thinking around them.....observe our own thinking process. Perhaps this is similar to what you are saying about science? We need to be open to ALL information?

      If your opinion seems reliable and genuine to you, is it hypocrisy?
      (Hypocrisy: "a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not")
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        Feb 27 2013: That's what I meant regarding bias.

        Regarding hypocrisy. Using the thinking that you describe, I have noticed that every time I express a moral judgment, it is hypocritical. E.g., one of my favorite moral rules is "do not judge". When I see someone judging others with a "plank in his eye", I can mention it to this person. But then, by doing so, I am also judging that person for judging other people, thus committing the same offense. This goes for nearly all moral statements, regardless of how sincere I am. If I don't admit that I commit exact same thing, perhaps, the same moment I speak, it's hypocritical.
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          Feb 27 2013: Oh....I see what you're saying, Arkady. I believe that we often teach what we need to learn, and you seem to be recognizing that in yourself. I prefer to call it learning, rather than hypocritical. If I did not recognize what I was doing, and continued to do the same thing over and over again (judging a person for judging) it may seem hypocritical. The fact that you realize what you're doing and learn from it, seems to take it out of the label of hypocritical for me.

          I'm sure you know what the label is for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? In my humble perception and observation, you are NOT doing that Arkady:>)
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      Feb 27 2013: hey Arkady, thats exactly what i have been wodering about! Good thinking there to always admit opinion is always biased. we do that not only when we make moral judgements as I have noticed myself and others did that many times.hahaha

      Emm...the quote from Alan Watts makes a lot of sense.
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        Feb 27 2013: Re: "Emm...the quote from Alan Watts makes a lot of sense."

        You know why? Because this statement ironically admits that it is nonsense and makes fun of it. The same principle as I mentioned.
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    Feb 25 2013: Wilbur,
    What an interesting viewpoint. Please explain further
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      Feb 25 2013: "Please explain further."

      I'll try, hopefully within the framework of this blog's question, so not to hijack it.

      The question posed is this: "Are we free of personal bias when we think?" The question is actually a tautology, since we can never be free of the self, and we create our reality as a result of who we think we are, more than who we truly are.

      As long as we believe that we're humans of a particular race, having a specific upbringing, in a particular part of the world, then the totality of that belief is what we will use to create our reality, unless we broaden the concept of self.

      Until we understand--or remember--that we're more than the thoughts we think and the experiences we've had, we're stuck creating what we think, and therefore believing that we are what we think.

      "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," we're told.

      What if you knew, or remembered, that you're not that which think, but thought itself, not that which is conscious, but consciousness itself, not that which is aware but Mind itself. What would that do to, and for, your "viewpoint" of yourself and others?

      You would then know yourself both as the cause and effect, as the Alpha and the Omega, as the Creator and the creature.

      You'd remember, too, that you're not a being so much as an existence, that which has always existed and which brings all things into existence.

      "I AM THAT I AM."

      Your Home is not in the relative realm, but the Absolute. In the Absolute, all things Are One Thing. You can't leave the Absolute (Home), although you can believe that you have.

      You can return Home at any time, simply by reconnecting with Home, the Absolute. The quickest way to reconnect is to remember who and what you are.

      You are that which is Total Love.

      That knowing is not enough to experience Home, although it's enough to take you Home. To experience Home, that knowing must become more than a knowing, but an experience.

      We become Total Love in our experience by loving, by expressing it
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        Feb 25 2013: Hi Wilbert,
        The question is not ""Are we free of personal bias when we think?"

        It is..."Can we think without any presumptions?"

        I suggest that we CAN think beyond personal bias and presumptions, and be clear in ourselves regarding personal bias/assumptions/presumptions in our thoughts, WHEN we are aware that the thought IS personal bias/assumption/presumption. When we KNOW what it is, we can then use it as a learning tool, as Allen insightfully suggests.

        You ask....."What if you knew... remembered, that you're not that which think, but thought itself, not that which is conscious, but consciousness itself, not that which is aware but Mind itself. What would that do to, and for, your "viewpoint" of yourself and others?

        I suggest that it changes our viewpoint of ourselve and others. It changes what we think, feel, how we act/react, and it changes the dynamic of our life experience. That is why, and how we can use presumptions as a learning tool, and move beyond what we previously thought we knew about ourselves and our world. I agree..." The quickest way to reconnect is to remember who and what you are."
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      Feb 25 2013: When we're in Love, it's like the lyrics to that old song that goes this way:

      When you're smilin'....keep on smilin'
      The whole world smiles with you
      And when you're laughin'....keep on laughin'
      The sun comes shinin' through

      But when you're cryin'.... you bring on the rain
      So stop your frownin' happy again
      Cause when you're smilin'....keep on smilin'
      The whole world smiles with you

      Substitute Love for "smilin'" and "laughin'" as it sums up the process. When we're in Love, we seem to be at one with everything and everyone. When that Love is elevated to Unconditional Love, Loving for loving sake, the object of that Love is Nothing (No Thing) in particular, but Everything in general, uniting us once again--seemingly--with the Absolute, All That Is.

      This Reunification is merely an illusion, as we cannot be absent from Home, or on Vacation, or on hiatus from who we truly are--Homebodies.
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        Feb 25 2013: Wilbert,
        I LOVE that song!!! "Smiles are a carrier" :>)

        We don't need to "substitute Love for smilin' and laughin" because smilin'/laughin comes from a place of love:>) Unconditional love is a feeling we carry in our "self", and as you say, it is not about anything is in causes us to see the world and our participation in the world differently.

        When we have love in our heart and mind, we are willing and able to evaluate presumptions/assumptions/bias with an open heart and mind, which turns the presumption/bias into tools for learning:>)
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    Feb 24 2013: And we are eternal as we are part of the one timeless life in the now.
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    Feb 24 2013: Is the Life that is reading this something physical with non-physical characteristics or is it a higher, timeless plane of existence?
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      Feb 24 2013: "Is the Life that is reading this something physical with non-physical characteristics."

      David, we never leave Home, we just think we do. What's that supposed axiom: "You can never go home again."

      Well, the truth is just the opposite: We can't leave Home, we only think that we did, and can, and you can seem to return Home anytime you choose--that is, destroy the illusion of having left in the first place.
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    Feb 24 2013: Presumptions are a big part of stable human thought, but only if those presumtions have been proven by direct personal experience. People in the West seem to forget that we are Human Beings. The Being that we are is far greater than the Human that we think we are.
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      Feb 24 2013: "The Being that we are is far greater than the Human that we think we are."

      David, I couldn't agree more. We're far more than our bodies, and infinitely more than the ego that resides within our bodies.
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    Feb 23 2013: To Fritzie Reisner,

    The TED talk that Mitch referred to was about movement and the brain developed to control mevement, but in doing so needed to filter the "noise" in feedback signals in the body's nervous system to acquire any accuracy and coordination.

    The Bruce Lee example is probably the greatest display of human coordinated movement that I have ever seen. Playing ping pong is difficult enough, but to use a nun-chuck, which is not only cylindrical in shape, but articulated (i.e. two pieces joined by a flexible chain or cord), is ridiculously difficult as the body has little feedback ("feel") from the loose part of the nun-chuk which is the bit that strikes the ball.

    To do what Bruce Lee does in that video, not only being able to hit the ball, but do so as accurately as someone using a standard ping pong paddle, is truly incredible. I'd like to see anyone attempt to duplicate it.

    Given the content of the TED Talk, I bet the speaker would have given anything to have had the opportunity to study whatever magic was happening in Bruce's nervous system!

    If you watch the talk, you will understand the reference.
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    Feb 22 2013: Two:

    So the pattern is this: Perspective creates perception, and perception our experiences, and our experiences our perspective--a circle to be sure, but it doesn't have to be a vicious one, but one that's guided consciously and intentionally.

    That new paradigm--and the New Perspective it brings--is already in place, and will in time revolutionize our world. It is this: "We Are All One."

    For us to continue with the old perspective--the one to which we now adhere--that says that we're separate and apart, will lead to our eventual self-annihilation, and our utter destruction.

    That's why a change of the self, which a change of perspective can create, is humankind's only hope. Otherwise, our destructive and negative personal and collective biases will be our collective undoing.
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    Feb 22 2013: One:

    The question becomes: Can we operate outside of ourselves, or are we stuck within our own personal orbit, inclusive of all the things that have happened in our past and continue to define us--every thought we've thought, every feeling we've felt, and every experience we've had?

    To be sure, we're the sum of all these things, but we're much more than the whole of them--exceedingly much more. True, we cannot not be us, but the "us" that we are has yet to be discovered, has yet to be fully experienced, as the self is capable of infinite variations and infinite recreations.

    So the answer becomes, to change our "biases," our preconceptions, and our perception, we first must change. We can't be "free of personal bias" until we're free of the self that promotes those biases--assuming that these "biases" are destructive rather than constructive, and negative rather than positive.

    And that's the rub. How do we do that?

    The quickest and simplest way is to change our customary perspective. When we change our perspective we force a shift in the self, the way the self has always perceived things, thereby reducing or eliminating "personal bias when we think."

    Things always look different when we change our perspective: A bird's eye view is vastly different from a worm's-eye view. Oftentimes, we're told to place ourselves in the shoes of another, or to walk a day in the moccasins of another, to facilitate a change in perspective, and thereby the self.

    This forcing of one's self for another self, using our imaginative abilities, creates a shift in our perspective, but the shift is not even possible without a willingness to see things from a new and possibly radical vantage point.

    Another word for this is empathy, a quality of the heart and mind that we can use more of in our modern world, but which, in time, will become the leading factor in the creation of a new paradigm of how we see ourselves and see others.
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    Feb 22 2013: I am reading the comments with interest. I tried to think about it with as little presumption as possible.
    What is a presumption? An act or instance of taking something to be true or adopting a particular attitude toward something or an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain. These are Google definitions. I tend to agree with these (presumption).
    What is thought? Thought generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination. This is a Wikipedia definition and I tend to accept it as correct (presumption again).
    Presumptions can be useful or mistaken. When Einstein said, God does not play dice (please ignore the religious connotations of God) he was basically presuming that chance and uncertainty cannot be fundamental in physical world. He was mistaken. When he thought time as just an extra dimension with space he was presuming that speed of light was a physical constant and it proved useful.
    All of thought may not require presumption and it still can produce wonderful things. Poetry for example. But some thinking requires presumption like an entrepreneur presumes his product will sell. (My observation - no presumption).
    The thought that we can think absolutely without presumption always seems a presumption to me.
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    Feb 21 2013: What do you mean by presumption?
    I don't equate presumption with bias as you seem to imply.
    Either way, though, we can't think without presumption or bias, we don't have absolute control over our cognition, much of which is subtle and not apparent to us..
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      Feb 21 2013: By presumption I mean accomplished beliefs about everything or assumptions of something as ture.You are right they are diferece and bias arise when assumptions dont match up with reality(again,that can be another assumption sometimes even with evidences). Anyway,my experience,presumptions and reality are true to me.I wonder what we could do otherwise.
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      Feb 20 2013: Carolyn,
      One of your ideas, which I love, jumps out at me.........

      "...having a bias interferes with acts like a closed gate...."

      I wholeheartedly agree:>)
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    Feb 17 2013: I suppose we can think without any presumptions and judge whether we are doing so. I think life has a way of teaching us and if we are too biased, life will "bite back" and show us we are biased.
  • Feb 17 2013: Many have great difficulty to change their first impressions. It also very much depends on how open-minded we are.

    We all have our opinions and thus presumptions but if we come across something totally new to us, we may be free of presumptions. I hope.

    Nowadays when I look at an item I presume it is 'made in China' :)