Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My own lingo - Cognitive Mind

By cognitive mind I mean the part of us that thinks about things.

Our cognitive mind basically evaluates our situation the best it can by comparing ourselves to others, our group to other groups, or really anything to something else, and then makes conclusions that it will generally stick with until they are proven wrong.

Our cognitive mind never acts completely alone.  It is always taking into consideration how we feel and what we have been taught and then comes up with the best conclusions it can.  When we do not like our lot in life or the way we have been feeling our cognitive mind tries hard to figure out how and why we have gotten to this place and how to get to a better place.  If this goes on long it often leads to racing thoughts as it gets more desperate for a solution.  When our visceral beliefs lead in two very different directions it can also set up the proverbial devil on one shoulder and angel on the other or what some people refer to as a committee in their head.  

Anyone who tells you that they have considered an issue without any bias or prejudice (pre-judgments) really does not know themselves very well.  Our cognitive mind's frame of reference must always be the experiences it has witnessed, the things it has learned from others' experiences that have been shared with it, and its previous conclusions about those experiences.  

Our cognitive mind is likely the biggest thing that distinguishes humans from other animals.  It gives us consciousness, which I will define for my purposes as the ability to view ourselves as separate from our surroundings, evaluate our place in an ecosystem, or even to evaluate the somewhat separate but connected parts of ourselves.

For example I do not think a wolf sits around and thinks about why he feels the way he does or why the alpha wolf always gets to eat first or gets the best female wolfs or has the best den, etc.  We as humans of course do this sort of thing and it can be very motivating as well as productive for ourselves and society as a whole.  However, it also has its problems since we can get stuck in this evaluation process, which can cause us to feel poorly about ourselves and others, which can then lead to all sorts of problems for how we related to ourselves and others.

The last point I would like to make about the cognitive mind is that it tends to want certainty, and in striving for this it generally simplifies things too much and attributes too much to a particular event or idea.  What I mean by this is that when two people are arguing over something there is normally some truth on each side, but each person is trying to take their little bit of truth and extrapolate it too far.  In reality, the truths on both sides normally fit together in a messy way that leaves uncertainty, which is uncomfortable and therefore avoided.  

Again this post is not meant to have much meaning by itself, but I want to have a separate post defining key words or concepts so that when I am referring to them later people can easily check back to see more specifically what I mean.