Það fyrsta sem höfundurinn kennir manni er að slökkva á innri prófarkalesaranum sem agnúast út í hvert einasta orð sem maður lætur frá sér. Hann lætur mann gera það með því að neyða mann til að skrifa um eitthvað, svo til hvað sem er, í 10 mínútur á hverjum degi. Maður verður að skrifa stanslaust, maður má ekki stoppa, ekki hugsa og alls ekki stroka út. Þetta kennir manni ekki bara að hætta að vera svona gagnrýninn á eigin texta heldur kemur þetta manni hreinlega í gang. Yfirleitt finnst mér erfiðast að byrja á hlutunum, og þetta er eins og hálfgert jump start.
Hér er svo textinn sem ég skrifaði í dag. Þetta er ekkert meistaraverk en ég er samt hissa á því að þetta sé ekki verra en það er, einmitt af því að ég skrifaði þetta á innan við 10 mínútum og ég strokaði aldrei út eða hugsaði málið.
We may think that our behavior is carefully thought out all the time, but I have a feeling (shared by others) that a lot of our behavior is on “autopilot”. We don’t think much about where we are looking, we do not think much about each step we take. We probably don’t even think too much about which coffee cup we choose for our morning coffee, or whether we should eat corn flakes or Cheerios. Surely, we choose, but we don’t thoroughly contemplate our choices like August Rodin’s “Thinker”. We mostly just do. And these acts are planned by something. What?
We think we are the thinking animal, but so much of our behavior is merely triggered by habits, genetic makeup, and other factors that lead to more-or-less automatic behavioral pattern, not under our conscious control. That is not to say that we couldn’t control them if we wanted to. It is more that it is not necessarily beneficial for us to do so in our daily lives. Or more regrettably, we just might not be aware that our behavior is being dictated by “outside forces” because by definition, almost, they are out of our minds. And how can we change that of which we are not aware?
The problem behaviors can be fundamental, like when people, without wanting to, judge other people based on race, gender, or any other group membership that they might have. Such behavior might have been adaptive, because we just don’t have the time to get to know everyone on an individual basis, and if we are too trusting until having been proved otherwise, we might get in trouble. But such judgments, I believe, are so ingrained and almost hardwired, and so automatic, that we are not aware of them and therefore we cannot change them.
People do not go around thinking: “Hey, this is a woman. Therefore I am not going to pay attention to what she is saying.” But they do it anyway. They might not “think” about it at all, they might just get a feeling of disgust, or boredom, or fear, or anything else that is hard to put into words and therefore hard to think about, but it still dictates our behavior. So unless we can measure these automatic processes, we cannot point them out to people, and unless we can point them out we cannot counteract them and change them. The first step is detection, the next step is training or unlearning these habits.