I always look for new angles to understand how the mind works. When Mark Gorkin (@stressdoc) mentioned that MindWorks uses beliefs, thoughts, and feelings to build its internal worldview, I knew I needed to read it.
MindWorks by Gary van Warmerdam covers a similar domain as Mental Construction, yet uses different variable terms.
- The book considers one’s internal worldview (not the actual external reality) as the basis for decisions and behavior. A perspective I share.
- ‘Beliefs’ is a term I don’t use in Mental Construction. There is a distinction between ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’ that I wanted to understand. I needed to see how these ideas fit with, worked differently, or contradict my use of ‘knowledge’ and ’emotions’.
I quickly realized that van Warmerdam focused on people who desired therapeutic assistance in contradistinction to Mental Construction’s attention to the average functioning human.
Beliefs in MindWorks are either false or fear-based with negative consequences. While the first undoubtedly happens occasionally and for certain people, the overwhelming accurate and useful beliefs are ignored. Also, fear-based beliefs are natural at their core and only require supererogatory action when grossly distorted from realistic probabilities.
Beliefs assume knowledge which cannot be completely proven. The types of knowledge that connects, explains, and/or predicts facts. Mental Construction’s knowledge of various levels of certainly includes beliefs as well as offering an explanation of their certainty by their mode of discovery and age of learning/discovery.
MindWorks ties false and fear-based beliefs to insecurity, low self-esteem, anger, jealousy. Countering and relieving them are the book’s target.
Faith is the amount of certainty of those beliefs. Although an attempt is made to distance ‘faith’ from religious overtones, later casual usage slips allowing such connotations.
The claim (p 45) “Perspective precedes any interpretations, thoughts, beliefs, decisions” is dubious in my view. Belief (assumed knowledge) and then interpretations give rise to one’s perspective which is followed by thoughts and decisions.
MindWorks does not distinguish between facts, explanations, theories, and predictions. The latter three assume beliefs from simple to complex and from clear to submerged.
It also does not explore simple versus compound facts (Simple: an object is red which is true or false. Compound: the Korean War ran from 1950-1953 which can be answered true by deaths, weaponry, etc. or false by lack of political declaration).
Character archetypes (bubbles of beliefs) are an interesting construct. They exist in our personalities. They are semi-independent.
(p 72) How can Jane feel a victim one moment … short while later completely confident. van Warmerdam asserts different character perspectives, yet he lacks a mechanism for shifting archetypes. Potential explanations exist in change from short-term to long-term satisfaction (driven by left-right hemispheric action domains). Also long-term possibilities can change with additional time to ruminate.
Change One’s MindWorks
Since the book’s goal is to provide a therapeutic mechanism, changing one’s internal worldview is of central interest.
Warmerdam’s idea of personal change has a very close relationship with Carol Dweck’s Mindset. Some people assume that less than satisfactory performance is a reflection of who they are intrinsically. Others take less than satisfactory performance as an indication of what they need to change.
Claims that Made Me Think Twice
- Our beliefs affect our
- Instead, emotions are formed 3S Imperatives (Satiety, Sex, Safety) shaped by personal experience at early stages with imposed moral codes.
- Beliefs are partial knowledge. Beliefs are developed and organized under different moral codes with different certainties.
- Emotions faster than thinking.
- He wants to limit thinking to consciously controlled thoughts, even excluding daydreams, which is worthy of note, though not necessarily agreement.
- p 130 A person doesn’t start
out being bad at math
- Some do. Although many don’t, yet are convinced by feedback they are bad at math.
- p 142 thinking, 2 modes …
conscious, purposeful use of language in our mind …automatic rambling …
- It made be therapeutically useful to define thinking in this fashion, but it’s unduly constricting for understanding the overall dimensions of mental cogitation.
- Automatic rambling consists of ideas linked by association, by similarities rather than logic.
MindWorks was an interesting and worthwhile read, exposing me to a verbal set (belief, feeling, and faith) describing the internal worldview that I hadn’t used in Mental Construction. Instead I relied on partial knowledge and 3S Imperatives leading to emotions.
Mental Construction lays out my views from neurons to the Almost Gate, then brain evolution to individual maturation, and developing the complementary role of associations to logic.