Saturday, 11 June 2011

Beggaring belief - part V

Part I Here

This is exactly the problem with this illusory construct of self. In order to perpetuate the illusion, the lie needs constant reinforcement of its existence. 

How exactly does it do this?

Well as you can see and as you know yourself, our successes are very often short lived. Once our neuro - chemical reward system goes back to equilibrium, we are still driven to climbing this social ladder and chasing good feelings of sorts.

The lie is like a void that we are constantly trying to fill, we always think that if we can just accomplish this one thing then everything will be ok. I also covered this in another post so I won't dwell much further on this thing as a metaphor, as this is something we have already directly observed and can know from our own experience.

On an evolutionary level, it is worth pointing out that it makes sense that our neuro - chemical reward is short lived anyway. It is only recently in the history of homo sapien, that we know where our next meal is coming from. As a result of unstable survival conditions million years ago when mammals first appeared, it would make sense that our evolution would facilitate a short lived neuro – chemical reward system, as long term rewards would hardly be conducive to our survival.

In a sense we always seem to be chasing good feelings and avoiding bad feelings.

We are driven to do this anyway in psychological terms but through our false sense of self, we seem to put this over and above all else. As I say, this is just stating the obvious but there is some reasoning for this as far as our evolution is concerned.

Anyway back to the point. So we have this feedback system and eventually we come back to the point where we perceive that we need something else to complete us. In our positive feedback cycle we have our neuro – chemical reward and then it is not long before we feel we need the next thing.

We end up coming to the “I should be better” idea however, in this case the negative connotation is going to be neutral and represents our base drive to improve our survival prospects, rather than being entirely the result of dissonance.

In both cases the base survival drive is towards this anyway however in this half of the model, we are without the ensuing negative thought patterns that tie in to our illusory notion of self.

Then the cycle starts again. The outcome this time may be desirable or undesirable but this model is self perpetuating in the sense that cognitions are driven in this manner.

All it takes is one negative event sometimes and our whole sense of self can take a massive dent and we can get really down about stuff. Basically once our core belief is activated, this is where our cognitive dissonance comes in to play.

Whilst the brain holds this core idea that we are not good enough, we are driven towards improving our prospects all the time. At the same time the brain is holding two opposing ideas and this is where it gets messy.

We can look at any model of depression from this point and see how some people are quite prone to this cycle of “I can't ever win” which stems from this unfounded core belief and the resultant dysfunctional negative thoughts.

Interestingly we can substitute any core belief in to this model and it still holds true apart from our labels change. Even if people have a lot of good luck and things going right for them for a while, when things go wrong people will literally come back to this core belief and this provides the basis for the I can't ever win model.

It is completely false but as a result of the core beliefs being activated, the focus switches to the negative events and the positive ones are soon forgotten. This facet of dysfunctional thought is called maximising the negatives and minimising the positives.

Our sense of self is derived from these beliefs and all it takes is one negative core belief to interfere with our lives.

We also derive our sense of self from our ability to achieve things. If we take someone who had a good start in life and is used to operating on the positive side of the model, we can see how people can still function and still remain healthy psychologically, despite this core belief however, there will be times when something major such as the breakdown of a relationship, will trigger these beliefs and it is no surprise that it is estimated that one in three people suffer from clinical depression in their life time.

Many people do not hold this core belief but there are plenty that do.

Do you see the problem with this system?

With our sense of self, we are making attachments within our outcome system about obtaining these objectives and investing in to them. Very often we hold the belief that once this one thing is obtained, then we can sit back and be happy, like it is just something we can suddenly just decide to do one day.

As you can see from the diagram, if we take feeling great as a biochemical induced state when our survival criterion are met, then we can actually see that it does not really make for lasting happiness.

If we are literally drawing a sense of self through external objects and criteria being met, we can see that really this is not a possibility. Since feeling great is a biochemical state in the brain, it is plain to see that when the brain is operating on this model of reality, that feeling great is a fleeting thing that is impermanent.

In this model of reality only once we reach our survival criteria, we get to feel great. This model does not really allow us to feel great, since we have a sense of self that literally needs feeding these new attachments all the time and after our fleeting reward, we are left wondering why we are not happy and desire other things to fill our void from the metaphor.


This is the void we are trying to fill through self and no matter what outcome we achieve we are still left yearning for more. You can't ever win, the system is rigged through this illusion of self. This is the void we are trying to fill on a cognitive and biochemical level. It can not be filled through self.

Here it is spelled out for you as concisely and plainly as possible.

So how do we get to feel great all the time?


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