Want More Intelligence

Want More Intelligence?

The answer may surprise you

By Rahasya Poe

 

Rahasya PoeHere’s the question: “Is it possible that we may be evolving to a level of consciousness at which we no longer need to pretend we know things in order to suppress our fear of the unknown?” If the answer is yes, then we need to be courageous and start dealing with the beliefs that no longer serve us and that are dysfunctional in light of today’s science and archaeological finds of the past century. In fact, we need to rethink the mental process of believing without evidence altogether.

For thousands of years we have blindly accepted whatever was handed down to us from the past, until technology came along and started changing our beliefs about the world we live in. Many have suffered because of the inventions of the past, such as the compass, which allowed us to circumnavigate the planet and magically turned our flat world into a sphere; the telescope, which showed Earth to be just another planet following a predictable orbit around the sun; and many other inventions along the way that changed our perception of and beliefs about the world we live in.

Now, with advanced technology, we are looking deep into the subatomic world and seeing that even our consciousness has an effect on the world around us. Recently we have started looking at our thoughts and emotions using fMRI technology, which shows the active parts of our brains while thinking and feeling. All that has come before is nothing compared to what lies ahead of us.

 

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

 

I think most of us want to be more intelligent, but what is intelligence? Most of us have come to realize that it’s not a matter of accumulating more data. If that were true we could solve the world’s problems by giving our computers a problem and waiting for it to give us the solution. True intelligence has to do with something else entirely. Many of us have heard the saying, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” What causes neurons to fire together in new patterns and connections is the simple process of thinking and exploring new avenues of thought. Surprisingly, one of the best ways to think new thoughts, or “think out of the box,” is to doubt (question) our previously held beliefs. This is when we experience a “stroke of genius” and it usually ends up changing the world we live in. This process has never been more important than it is at this moment in our history.

We used to ask, “What does the future hold for us as a human race?” Now a lot of us waking up from the dream are asking, “Do we even have a future?” I’m what you might call a realistic optimist in this matter because pure optimism might not be enough to create a sustainable society with an enduring future. It’s not only important that spirit takes extreme action in today’s world; it’s important to know what actions to take.

Albert Einstein once commented that we will never come up with solutions from the same level of awareness that created the problems in the first place. So the question becomes, “How do we reach a new level of awareness, or in other words, expand our intelligence?” It seems obvious that the first step is to leave the old level behind. For instance, the first thing we needed to do to see that the world was a sphere was to stop believing that it was flat and open up to new and conflicting evidence.

I would be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers and when I look at the big picture it seems a daunting, if not impossible, task to bring more than half of the world’s population into the 21st century while they are dragging their beliefs that date to the Iron Age. But on a personal level, I can tell you of my own experience when I started dealing with all the beliefs others had given me from an early age and throughout my life. The first step was to be courageously honest with myself and ask, “Do I really know this to be true?” I quickly realized that most of my beliefs about life, God, who I am, what is reality, and the afterlife were not backed up by evidence, experience, and in most cases, common sense, especially when taking into account recent scientific research and archaeological finds. I was simply pretending to know things that were for the most part unknowable. I had accepted most of those beliefs to cover up and suppress the fear of the unknown. But with at least a little wisdom gained through the years, I was able to deal with the fears and keep on doubting and questioning my beliefs. Then something amazing happened-my mind started to “think” again about the unknown and the mystery of life. At first it was like old rusty gears that hadn’t moved for years turning in my mind, creaking and struggling to move. But slowly they turned other wheels and I felt thoughts arising that I hadn’t had in years about the wonder of life.

Before I go on I should make clear that when I use the word “belief,” I mean those thoughts, ideas, and concepts that other people and organizations gave us as “truths” not to be questioned. And when I use the word “doubt” I am using it in the sense that I am questioning those same beliefs. I want to make this clear because from an early age we are told that we should never question or doubt our beliefs because that’s a sign of losing our faith, the repercussions of which vary from being labeled unpatriotic to eternal suffering in an afterlife. But this is a ploy to instill fear and most of us were told that there are two things you never should talk about: religion and politics. But these are the two things that are bringing us to the brink of global collapse so I’m talking, and the more I talk the more I realize that many others want to talk also. We are not the minority as a lot of us think; many people on this planet want peace and don’t believe that we are divided by a vengeful God who wrote books on how we should behave and how we should treat others who don’t believe the way we do. In fact, no one can actually live by those codes in today’s modern world and stay out of jail. And those of you who are already looking for my email, please, read Leviticus and Deuteronomy first, and then contact me. Of course it’s a simple matter to look at the others but we are supposed to pluck the log from our own eyes first. (Matthew 7:1-5)

We now live in two worlds-one holding on to the past with outdated literature, the ignorance of modern science, and a history of violence as its tools, and the other where the rest of us are struggling to bring about a world based on compassion, love, and peace using rationality and common sense as our tools. But this change will never happen unless we first bring this change about in ourselves. I for one choose to be a seeker of the truth no matter where it leads. For many centuries there have been those among us who have spoken out but now, for the first time, we have the means to reach others of like mind through media such as this magazine, books, and the Internet. For the first time we are stronger than the standing armies of the world, and the time has come for our idea for a peaceful, compassionate world. In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, “Don’t believe anyone.” He says that because the mental act of believing keeps your mind from thinking and closes the door to new information. With the cleansing of the doors of perception the world truly does appear as it is … infinite.

So, if you want more intelligence, here’s what I suggest. First, doubt/question your beliefs by holding them up to the light of reason and direct experience. Second, this will automatically start the mental process of thinking again. Since we live in a world that is unlike anything in our past we need to think with a new mind that is not anchored down with beliefs that we accumulated through our experiences during the past centuries. All we need to do is stop doing what we’ve always done and we’re halfway there to creating a better world.

Through the past six years I noticed something interesting about the people I was interviewing for the Lotus Guide. Most of them shared a common view about the mental process of believing without evidence.

 

Here are a few of the things that I have been told:

 

How do you get out of a belief system? First you have to destruct the belief system. Traditionally, the teacher is supposed to remove your ignorance. But when you remove ignorance, you start with removing what is causing the ignorance, which is your belief system. So the teacher’s job indeed is to first deconstruct your belief system. And then to give you inspiration so you’ll go out to create a path to discover what is spirit, what is beauty, what is love, because these things nobody can teach you. So teaching really should be a demolition job.

Amit Goswami

 

Fundamentalism, in and of itself, is benign and can be personally beneficial, but the anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of How God Changes Your Brain

 

The first thing we need to do is realize that some of our old beliefs are dysfunctional and no longer work, if indeed they ever did. If the desire to do that isn’t there, there’s nothing to do.

Fred Alan Wolf, author of Taking the Quantum Leap

 

The difficulty in today’s world is our technology and science has outrun our theological advances. The reason for that is in technology and science, we have had the courage to ask the single question that theology has been afraid to ask: “Is it possible that there’s something I don’t know about this, the knowing of which would change everything?”

Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God

 

What the brain likes to do is to simply replace old ideas or beliefs with new ones.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, author of Evolve Your Brain

 

I see the main problem as a spiritual one, not a resource problem, or a problem with this or that government, but a larger problem centered around human beliefs, the troublesome elements founded in our mythology. Our problematic mythology is collapsing all around us. It is a mythology that is predatory.

Albert Villoldo, PhD

 

My book, To Believe or Not To Believe: The Social and Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems, will be out by December 2009. Check my website for details at www.RahasyaPoe.com or email me at rahasya@usa.com.

 

References:

 

What Your Brain Looks Like on Faith

By David Van Biema from TIME Magazine

 

Article covers how our beliefs and disbeliefs show up in primitive parts of our brains and is usually associated with pain or pleasure.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1694723,00.html

 

MRI Spectroscopy-Gotta Have Faith (January 2, 2008)

The human mind is a prolific generator of beliefs about the world, the researchers explain. Indeed, the capacity of our minds to believe or disbelieve linguistic propositions is a powerful force in behaviour control and emotion. However, until now the foundations of this process in the brain was not at all understood.

The team found that the areas that are specifically engaged in disbelief include the cingulate areas of the limbic system, and the anterior insula, a brain region known to report certain sensations, such as pain and disgust, and to be involved largely in negative appraisals of sensations like taste and smell.

http://www.spectroscopynow.com/coi/cda/detail.cda;jsessionid=3DD00D7BB82300DBD2D63C57B2EB29A0?id=17809&type=Feature&chId=3&page=1

 

An fMRI investigation of spontaneous mental state inference for moral judgment-Abstract

 

Recent studies suggest that the right TPJ (RTPJ) and, to lesser extent, the left TPJ (LTPJ), the precuneus (PC), and the medial pFC (MPFC) are robustly recruited when participants read explicit statements of an agent’s beliefs and then judge the moral status of the agent’s action. Real-world interactions, by contrast, often require social partners to infer each other’s mental states. The current study uses fMRI to probe the role of these brain regions in supporting spontaneous mental state inference in the service of moral judgment.

http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1536222

 

Religious convictions correlated to fMRI scans

Posted by Cory Doctorow, March 9, 2009 11:06 PM

A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discusses the brain’s God-center, the region that seems to be responsible for feelings of the numinous and the sanctified — why would evolution create a God-lobe? Is religion the by-product of biology?

http://boingboing.net/2009/03/09/relgious-convictions.html