AddThis Feed Button

Recent Posts

  • Sprinting to Enlightenment
  • Once more, with barely any feeling
  • You’re not intuitive, you’re lazy
  • Now this really bugs me
  • Homicidal Homeopaths!
  • 98-pound positive thinking weaklings
  • Oh, and let’s be prepared for 12/22/2012
  • Add this to my 11 year history of alien abduction
  • You heard it here first
  • The Confidence Con Game
  • I couldn’t care less. Really. I tried.
  • Sitting in a room all alone
  • Spiritual Schmiritual
  • Do what you love and the money WON’T follow
  • Mantra power from Sweden
  • Start watching TV, Maitreya is coming, Maitreya is coming!
  • I’m not leaving, but I am moving… ish
  • Oh, those wacky Buddhists…
  • How to be successful in anything… finally, the truth revealed!
  • I think I can’t. I think I can’t. Oh… oops, I was wrong.
  • Who you are really… AS IF!
  • Buddha the Internet Marketer
  • Attractive ways to attract attraction-attracting attractiveness
  • Die your potential
  • Shoot me. Shoot me now! Why? It’s beyond a secret.
  • Water is not water (and other things Quantum Physics DOES NOT say)
  • What science says about enlightenment
  • You can be Tony Robbins!
  • Semper Ube Sub Ube
  • The Three Stooges of Truth…
  • Fundamentalist Physicists and Religious Atheists
  • Well, I’ll be reintarnated!
  • Mike Myers (as The Love Guru) is the root of all evil
  • Does my cat have free will… or is that a hairball?
  • Questioning Questions
  • Brain Waves Goodbye
  • You don’t deserve your rights
  • Physics Schmysics!
  • Why, yes, I AM rubber!
  • You can have ANYTHING you want… NOT!
  • I’m all blocked up…
  • Wrong about being right
  • Develop a New Habit? Give me 21 days, and I’ll give you… three weeks
  • What me spiritual?
  • You’re special… SO special
  • In fact, I DON’T want to ATTRACT anything to me
  • Okay, Oprah, let’s settle this once and for all…
  • Hoping to be a successhole
  • Manifrustration
  • If you think you can, or you think you can’t… who cares what you think!
  • Archives

  • March 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • May 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • July 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • Categories

  • argument (8)
  • atheism (1)
  • atheists (1)
  • binaural beat (1)
  • brain wave (1)
  • Buddhism (3)
  • cognitive psychology (11)
  • creationism (2)
  • debate (3)
  • deepak chopra (1)
  • Evolutionary Psychology (12)
  • goal setting (6)
  • Gurus (19)
  • homeopathy (2)
  • intelligent design (2)
  • manifestation (13)
  • Marianne Willamson (1)
  • Meditation (15)
  • mike myers (1)
  • Nelson Mandela (1)
  • New Age (12)
  • New Age thinking (22)
  • new word (1)
  • oprah (2)
  • past lives (1)
  • positive thinking (2)
  • Prescriptions for living (3)
  • Psychology (19)
  • quantum physics (4)
  • reincarnation (1)
  • self-help (7)
  • Self-Improvement (33)
  • sloppy thinking (20)
  • Spiritual Growth (28)
  • spirituality (4)
  • stupid science (3)
  • the love guru (1)
  • the secret (6)
  • Uncategorized (2)


    Why is this the "Anti-Guru" blog?

    It doesn't mean that I have some dislike or aversion to gurus (though, admittedly, I'm more than a bit suspicious of most). What I'm saying, in a way that's hopefully a bit provocative, is this:

    First, this site is about learning to think for yourself, to be your own guru... even if that means asking someone a question, or reading a book, or finding some help for whatever you're doing.

    And, second, I am not interested in becoming a guru even though I sometimes teach meditation and applied financial psychology. It's too awkward to have brunch with your "students" -- let alone "disciples" -- when they attribute magical qualities to you (qualities your spouse may not agree you possess). And I really like having brunch with people.

    What follows is, simply, my favorite conversation. I hope you enjoy it. And if you think you benefit from it in some way, that's okay too ;-).

    You’re not intuitive, you’re lazy

    November 13th, 2010

    Another bit of dried grass just fractured a even-toed ungulate’s spine.

    I may have to punch the next person who tells me they’re “intuitive.” (Of course, if they’re really intuitive, they should be able to see it coming and avoid the blow… but I’m willing to bet there’s a contusion coming.)

    Why so anti-intuitive, Steven?

    Because I dislike lazy thinking and to call oneself (or another) intuitive, is not descriptive, it’s laziness.

    There are 2 reasons why.

    First, I haven’t met an “intuitive” yet who has kept an accurate “hit counter.” Simple thing, really. Write down every “intuitive hit” you have, as accurately as possible. Then, at a later date, check and see how accurate you really were.

    Now the problem with this method is the “as accurately as possible” part, combined with our brain’s entertaining ability to mis-remember, especially in the wake of information that could validate our beliefs.

    Let’s just say that every study ever done about precognitive dreaming shows that:

    1. When the dreamers were required to write down their dreams, their accuracy dropped to less-than-random
    2. After some event happened, they often misremembered dreaming about it.
    3. There are, of course, millions of events that did occur that they never dreamed about at all.

    So, it’s the same thing with “intuitives.” If they actually checked their batting average, and adjusted for mis-remembering or vague predictions, they’d find they aren’t so Sylvia Browne after all (or, more accurately, they’re EXACTLY like Sylvia Browne! That is, not intuitive.)

    Here’s the 2nd reason.

    Human beings are really good at identifying patterns. Too good, in fact (we “see” patterns where none actually exist).

    When our brain is looking for a pattern, it’s working hard, expending energy. This effort and glucose use takes up valuable CPU cycles that could be used for something else. We’re built to find patterns quickly so we can stop wasting energy.

    And when we “spot” a pattern, we get a nice hit of chemicals and a handful of interesting sensations — sometimes a feeling in our gut, even.

    Circling back: if we recorded and audited our “gut feelings” we’d find that we aren’t as accurate as we thought. But if we do get a hit…

    It’s not because we’re intuitive, it’s because our non-conscious pattern recognizer was working.

    That is, we’re not channeling some disembodied entity who is telling us that you may be coming down with a cold… we’re using our millenia-old pattern recognition circuits that are wired to identify “oncoming cold!”… and it happens below our consciousness.

    In other words, it ain’t magic Houdini.

    Think about this one: We often find it almost spooky that we can tell when someone is looking at us, right?

    Well, first of all, we can’t tell as accurately as we think. If we have no idea if someone is behind us, and we have no idea if they’re looking… we can’t tell.

    But we *DO* have millions of years of evolutionary hardware inside our cranium that responds to images of eyeballs (because seeing eyes could have been a life/death/sex moment).

    When we spot eyes pointing in our direction, we don’t “know” it or “think” about it discursively. The whole thing happens like a reflex. So, it’s not a mystery when we turn our head and catch someone’s gaze. It’s simply that we turned our head in response to a signal we had no conscious awareness of.

    Now THAT’s spooky because it makes you wonder: Hmmm… what else is going on where something automatic in my brain is running the show? Could it be… EVERYTHING?!

    Humans like to ignore that we have some of the same psychobiological history as other animals. We like to think that everything that goes on for us is something we can clearly feel, perceive, conceive and deliberately affect.

    It just isn’t so.

    I’d LOVE to see an example of “intuition” that isn’t covered by either luck, or some form of non-conscious pattern recognition. Just hasn’t happened yet.

    In the meantime, I like to remember a story that Richard Feynman tells about intuition: He was at home one evening and the phone rang and he knew, just KNEW, it was a call to tell him his mother died. He could feel it in his gut and dreaded picking up the phone. But not wanting to delay the bad news, he picked up the phone, ready to confirm his intuitive suspicion and… wouldn’t you know it… telemarketer.

    Now this really bugs me

    May 14th, 2010

    First of all, another comment that my lack of blogging results from:

    1. Getting a bit tired of rehashing the same themes (there are only so many ways that thinking goes awry in the New Age and “spiritual” world, really)
    2. Being busy with things like Invisible Shoes running sandals
    3. Nothing spinning in my head  loudly enough that I need to get it out by writing it down

    Well, that’s about to change. There’s a thought-storm a-brewin’ and this brief post will hint at what it is.

    So let me get there by starting here:

    You probably know about the various “caveman” or “paleolithic” diets. They suggest that we should eat like our 100,000 year old ancestors for maximum health and a lean, trim body.

    Okay, let’s ignore for a moment that most of what they ate no longer exists — the fruits and vegetables they would find have long since been selectively bred out of existence, for example.

    And let’s ignore that their lifestyle — which involved a surprisingly small amount of driving, deskwork, and Twitter/Facebook status updates — is, oh, a bit passe.

    But here’s what gets me. I’ve never heard one of the paleo/cave proponents recommend a food that was eaten frequently by our more hirsute relatives… one that is a source of a significant percentage of protein in the diets of many modern societies.


    Yup. Bugs, grubs, spiders, creepy-crawly things. Oh, and let’s not forget lizards who, it seems, had not yet been turned into hyper-expensive boots.

    If you’re going to propose that we get in the Way-Back Machine and knosh at a pre-historic Denny’s, then you can’t cherry-pick your data (and cherries, back then, were sour and sucked). You can’t leave out the pieces of the puzzle that you find unpleasant or, worse, unmarketable.

    So, you paleolithic pansies, get thee to an Asian grocery for some palm grubs (smoothies, anyone?). Hop over to an exotic pet store for a plateful of crickets and grasshoppers. Don’t feed that monitor lizard you have as a pet… pet it gently with marinade as you roast it over an open flame.

    Oh, and walk all the way to and fro on your gathering errands, cause finding this stuff shouldn’t be easy.

    Now, all that said, how does this relate to our normal topic-du-blog?

    I’ve been struck lately by how Western Buddhists have been cherry-picking philosophy and taking the bugs out of the teachings they don’t find palatable (like, oh, the little idea that “enlightenment” or the “end of suffering” — the promise and #1 sales pitch of Buddhism — is attainable through diligent practice of monastic life… and, instead, Buddhism is really promising that, in the moment, you have the ability to be more present and less reactive… Whoopty-friggin’ do).

    But more about that later, once the volume of that thought in my brain gets to 11.





    Religion Blogs - Blog Top Sites