Choices and Illusions
by Val Silver
(New York, USA)
When asked to review the revised edition of Eldon Taylor's Choices and Illusions: How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be? I gave an enthusiastic, "yes".
Learning about how the mind works, how it is programmed from birth on, how we think we are thinking when really we are running subconscious programs, and how to shift those programs to beliefs and choices that serve our present desires are topics that have intrigued and challenged me ever since hearing about them a few years ago.
Dr. Taylor did not disappoint in sharing information about each of these aspects of our minds from philosophers, researchers, and his own gleanings over the years.
The basic message of the book is that much of our thoughts, actions, and choices come from subconscious programming, even though we may be under the illusion that we are making conscious thought out decisions. And yes, we can take back control of our minds.
This book covers a lot of ground. Instead of trying to take you through it all, I'll share a few highlights about beliefs.
"Our life beliefs are like a giant spiderweb. There is no such thing as a stand-alone belief...Even our dissonant beliefs are connected at some level...Beliefs weave together in ways that often bind us...Beliefs dictate reality...neuroscience... says you can change only what you believe and expect that you can change.
Our beliefs shape our DNA, our personalities, and our identities. For example, research shows that when older people are exposed to music from their youth, they act younger and may even temporarily forget to notice (or feel) their aches and pains.
Dr. Taylor also speaks about beliefs about ourselves. Each of each of us has four selves. Our perception of our actual self is often kept private because we may not be happy with who we think we are and our limitations. Our ideal or perfect self is who we wish to be,according to our beliefs about what is 'perfect'. The ought-to-be self - you know this one, the one that tells you all the things you should and ought to be and do based on what you learned to believe from your parents, teachers, preachers and the media, and the desired self we wish we really could be if we had the chance. You may also be aware that these selves are often in conflict with each other, which may sometimes make it very difficult for you to really figure out who you are, what you know, and what you want (as opposed to what you are supposed to want.)
It was also interesting to read about how the media and advertisers have made manipulating our thoughts with words and images a science. Even knowing some of the optical illusions in the book were just that, I still could not see the images for what they were because my brain was making 'adjustments' my conscious mind could not override. That's a pretty scary thought!
Dr. Taylor sums it up, "Your mind dictates your life, at least from the perspective of your choices when dealing with all that life brings you. Your thoughts may actually belong to someone other than you. Perhaps you are only storing them so as to be prepared to act on them and buy, vote, feel, or emote on cue."
So what do you do about all your programmed beliefs and illusions? How do you regain at least some control of your mind? Obviously, the first step is awareness. Then, according to Dr. Taylor, self-hypnosis and subliminal technology (done right), are the two most powerful technologies.
There is much more in this book to whet your curiosity and get you thinking and examining your own choices and illusions. Check it out here.