What is Intuition?


Part of the reason I developed Integral Deep Listening was because I was naturally highly intuitive in a number of ways but found I couldn’t trust my intuition or that of others because I found it highly unreliable, and sometimes trusting intuition got me into big trouble. Therefore, I was searching for a way to honor and validate intuition without using it to validate simple prepersonal irrationality and unhinged belief.

I had an interesting talk with my daughter Kira last night. She was talking about how she is good at sizing people up, is usually right, and has gotten her highly analytical boyfriend Aaron to finally agree that her intuition is generally correct on such things.

I explained to her how, after being a fervent believer in intuition for years, I am highly suspicious of it because i think it is over-rated, it usually doesn’t describe anything that can be measured, quantified or falsified and therefore disproven, and is often used for manipulative psychological ends, as revealed by the response you get when you question someone about how they know what they know – they tend to get defensive and take it as a personal attack.

Kira said that she and Aaron had talked about it a lot and had come to an agreement on a common understanding of what they mean by “intuition,” and it’s one I also agree with. It is certainly less than what psychics and gurus mean by “intuition,” but it is at least some definition that I do not think is totally delusional.

That is, that intuition is right-hemisphere brain awareness, meaning perception based on non-verbal spatial awareness, that looks for patterns and configurations, similarities, is spontaneous, affective and derives meaning from stories. What is interesting is that I value all of these qualities and am particularly good at seeing and making sense of patterns. I have had a strong affinity for most of these qualities all my life.

The difficulties I have with intuition may therefore largely be a matter of language. If someone says, “I trust my intuition on that” I will tend to wonder what the hell they mean, if anything. Do they mean they trust God? Their feelings? Their “still small voice? If so, what the hell is that??” Their “heart?” Okeee…. We can see how well that works with soul mates…

Does it mean they are ignoring their left hemisphere? That is my suspicion.

So it is clearer to me if someone were to say, “I am getting a strong right-hemisphere sense of truth about this and I have really been trying to use my left hemisphere skills to make sure I am not deluding myself.”

Now no one is actually going to say that, but I am trying to communicate an approach in shorthand. What that says to me is that a person is validating their strong right-hemisphere “feelings”” or “intuitions” of truth with left hemisphere strengths.

If I know someone is trying to do this, what else can they do? In other words, I respect that.

Really, a lot of my work with dreams is about attempting to honor, respect and balance both hemispheres.

I suppose what I do when I have a strong intuition, for instance any clear wake-up call or sense of importance, such as a dream – in fact pretty much WHAT I do when I have a strong intuition or non-rational experience, again, like a dream,  – is go down the list of left-hemisphere strengths and see if my intuition just represents right hemisphere perception or whether it also can meet left hemisphere criteria of considering other explanations, can be put into some measurable form by which it can be held accountable, can be transcribed into structures of thought and action that are reliable and directs feelings in caring, loving ways.

In other words, if I want whole-brain or integrated living I have to consult, balance and integrate the strengths of both hemispheres.

People who rely too heavily on reason and logic discount the strengths and possibilities of the right hemisphere while people who rely too heavily on intuition, whatever they may call it, discount the strengths and possibilities of the left hemisphere.

In my experience, almost all of us think we have that balance pretty well figured out.

In my experience, almost no one has that balance figured out. 

Posted in What is IDL?

How the Drama Triangle in Your Dreams Affects Your Health

(From Dillard, J. Escaping the Drama Triangle in the Three Realms: Waking, Thinking and Dreaming.)

You probably work hard during the day to eat right, exercise, maintain a positive attitude, treat others with respect, not react, and generally be a good person.  You can go to workshops and therapy, go to bed feeling good and still wake up feeling anxious and out of sorts. How come?

Could it be that despite all of your excellent efforts during the day that at night while you sleep you are unconsciously undoing, undercutting, and destroying all that you have fought to create during your waking hours? If you are so sure that this is not the case, how do you know?

Have you ever awakened anxious, irritable, or confused from a deep, dreamless sleep?  Something was going on out of your awareness while you slept that created stress.  Such events not only leave a physiological residue, making it harder for your body to cope with health risks; they leave a mental and emotional residue that colors your perception and affects your responsiveness, your mood, your mental focus, and your creativity.    You don’t have to wake up in a foul mood for this process to be taking place.  It can be very subtle.  Generally, the stress of unhealthy dream experiences undercut your physical, mental, and spiritual development completely out of your awareness. 

What are some of the barriers to awakening out of the Drama Triangle in Dreams? Most people give little pause  to the time that they spend asleep.  Our main concern is that we sleep soundly and awaken refreshed.  For most of us that means deep, dreamless unconsciousness, without restlessness, interruption or awareness.  As long as such a state remains our priority, any activity that prevents unconsciousness is to be eliminated.  As a result, we will sabotage any desire to remember our dreams or heighten our self-awareness while asleep because this will disrupt a basic habit in which we have a deep and long lasting investment.  We are under enough stress  already; don’t we deserve a good night’s sleep?  Unless you are thoroughly convinced that dream recall  and dream lucidity  contribute in a significant way to your overall health and personal development, no amount of fascination and curiosity about dreaming is likely to make a long-term dent in this basic human desire to sink into oblivion every night.

We know that sleep is regenerative and necessary for health.  Do we also know that we must be unconscious for sleep to be healthy?  It seems so. A system of toxin removal from the brain has been discovered, and it is much more effective when the brain is inactive in a state of deep sleep. This has in fact been proposed as the adaptational advantage of deep sleep.  How is this to be reconciled with the increased brain coherence demonstrated by regular meditators? How is it that some of these meditators can remain conscious in theta  (dream) and even delta  (deep) sleep? 

This might best be understood as a polarity between the evolutionary movement toward objectivity, self-awareness and heightened wakefulness, on the one hand, and the involutionary movement toward subjectivity and surrender to an underlying, revitalizing, wellspring of oneness. Within sleep we have the capacity to do both, to move toward lucidity and greater wakefulness in our dreams while surrendering to involutionary subjectivity during deep sleep.1

If health is about being conscious of what limits the ability of life to wake up to itself within and through us as well as how to avoid those limits, then sickness is sleepwalking our way through life, pursuing limited, self-centered agendas that do not reflect the priorities of life. While such self-centered agendas are not only necessary but vital for the advancement of life’s agenda in the physiosphere, that is, for plants and animals and young children, as well as into the early noosphere, into human adolescence,  past that point the self-centered agendas we learn as children impede our further development if their influence is not circumscribed by growth into broader contexts.

This truth applies to the evolutionary polarity of life; the opposite appears to be true for its involutionary phase: greater health comes from surrendering all sense of self before a pervasive regression into a primordial unity. Integral approaches, such as that of Aurobindo and Wilber, as well as IDL, contend that there is a higher order synthesis of these two poles, a space in which we can be self-aware during the involution of deep sleep without interrupting the healing process and, on the other hand, experience healing unity during evolution (for example mystical and near death experiences) without thereby regressing into a state of pre-conscious dissolution. These distinctions are important; otherwise nidra yoga, the yoga of deep sleep wakefulness, is not healthy, nor is mystical awareness, because it is retrogression rather than progression.

Evolution is the figure or focus of life as form while involution is the ground or substrate that form returns to in winter and deep sleep. For non-manifested life, that is, life before birth and after death, when there is no self, involution is the figure or focus of life as formless creativity and luminosity, while evolution is the ground or substrate that unmanifested life returns to in spring and birth. This is not, however, to posit reincarnation in the sense of a returning self-sense. This process occurs in spectacular natural abundance in snowflakes and seeds without the need of any self-sense whatsoever.

Waking up, whether becoming more vigilant while asleep or while awake, expands your awareness of yourself beyond yourself.  What was a proximal self, who you think you are, becomes a distal self, or a role or subset within a broader set or context that now defines who you are. In the evolutionary sense, waking up is about learning how to step outside of who you routinely think that you are and watching yourself go by.  While the dividends for doing so are enormous, drama blocks this process. 

Stepping outside of the Drama Triangle is the difference between being a more conscious participant in life, on the one hand, and, on the other, living a somnambulistic life, a victim  of your own unquestioned habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.   

While there appear to be clear biological and psychological benefits to sleep, there is also a price to pay for going unconscious unnecessarily.  First, your biochemistry controls you.  Consider the basic fight or flight  physiological reaction to stress.  Let’s say you are preparing to give an important speech and you are feeling intense pressure to do a really good job.  You hate public speaking  and you would love to avoid giving the presentation, but you know that you can’t.  You know that you are going to have to put on a brave face and fight your way through it.  You go to sleep feeling anxious about how you are going to do.  How might this affect your ability to give your speech?

Hans Selye, the brilliant Canadian doctor and researcher, was a pioneer in research on the physical consequences of stress  on organisms.  He observed and described what he called the General Adaptation Syndrome, the process by which  organisms adapt to stress, whether it is an illness, a death, a job loss, or an accident.  When you first experience a stress you go into an alarm reaction. A cascade of powerful hormones  is pumped out of your endocrine glands to alert and activate your body to deal with danger.  Your heart speeds up, your breathing becomes faster and more shallow.  Blood flows away from your internal organs and to your skeletal muscles to prepare you to fight or run.  Your pupils constrict.  If the threat does not go away as a result of all these measures, you next go into an adaptive phase in which you conserve your resources for a drawn-out defense against the attack.  When you have a major life stress, such as a public speaking  phobia, you can recognize both the initial alarm reaction and the secondary adaptive phase when your anxiety does not go away. Finally, if the threat remains present, something that happens with physiological stressors like drowning or running from a bear, but not from social threats like public speaking, you enter the exhaustion phase.  At this point new energy is poured into your body in a last-ditch attempt to overcome the challenge; you look like you are rallying when in fact you are making a total expenditure of all your resources in one final effort to turn the tide.  If this does not work, you will die.

We know that adrenaline, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones  collect in the body when the fight or flight  response is activated.  In waking life, we can metabolize them by fighting or running.  However, when you are anticipating a stress like giving a speech, you can’t do either. A similar situation is created very night when you sleep. During your dreams your central nervous system  is paralyzed to keep you from acting out your dreams and thereby hurting yourself.

IDL believes that if you want to stay healthy you need to learn to perceive and respond to stressful dreams as wake-up calls.   Reenacting the Drama Triangle  in one form or another, in dream after dream, can’t be good for your health. You might ask, “How can I be stressed if I am unconscious?”

“How can something affect me that I don’t even remember?”  Here is an analogy.  Every time you eat something it affects you for better or for worse. If it’s toxic it will harm your body whether or not you are aware of its toxicity.  Samples of Beethoven’s hair showed that he went deaf and eventually died due to lead poisoning, probably from the pewter mugs he drank from during his life.

Similarly, dreams and nightmares  that arouse a fight or flight  response in you release powerfully corrosive stress  chemicals into your body –whether or not you  remember any dreams.  When you go to bed worried, your dreams are more likely to be filled with anxiety-causing themes of inadequacy and failure in an attempt to address your fear.  If you take as a genuine threat something that is only a dream experience, your body cannot tell the difference. For instance, if you dream of public speaking  and being embarrassed and humiliated because the audience is laughing at you and walking out, this is your reality. You will respond as if these events happened to you in real life and your body will go into its normal reactions to stress. This may be one reason why psychotherapy is ineffective with many people. They leave the session feeling good, but at night in their dreams they regress into the Drama Triangle  and habitual emotional reactivity and mental delusions, thereby undercutting their progress and increasing the likelihood they will wake up in the morning anxious, depressed, or both.

So how does the Drama Triangle in my dreams undermine my health and peace of mind? Dream threats are typically experienced as real when they are in fact self-created manifestations of the Drama Triangle. While you may dream you are fighting or fleeing, that does nothing to neutralize the powerful hormones that are building up in your tissues as a physiological response to perceived threat.  Because they are not dissipated by running or fighting, these hormones act like battery acid, attacking the weakest link in your body’s defense system. 

Given enough time and enough repeated exposure to these night time assaults on the body, caused by addiction to the Drama Triangle, one person may catch some bug because their immune system is depleted; another person may develop arthritis because their auto-immune system goes haywire.  Another person may develop high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, while yet another may develop insomnia or ulcers.  Still others may show no effect whatsoever. While genetic predisposition partially determines which system is most likely to collapse beneath the onslaught of these biochemicals, the depth of your submersion in the Drama Triangle makes an enormous difference in how deep you immerse yourself in physiological toxins, for how long, and how quickly you recover from it.

Fortunately, normal physical activity helps to metabolize and eliminate toxic stress  chemicals, which is one reason why regular exercise is so important.  If you don’t do something physical to metabolize these powerful stress hormones, over time they can destroy your resistance to disease.  However, most of us assure ourselves that this is not happening to us.  We think about the walking that we do, the exercise that we get, the efforts we make to handle our feelings and responsibilities in ways that don’t allow stress hormones  to build up in us.  Yet we still get sick; our organs break down and we start feeling our age.  While some of this is inevitable, how much of it is due to genes and natural processes of aging and how much of it is the result of unnecessary stress due to immersion in the Drama Triangle not only during our waking relationships, but in our thinking and dreams?

How does IDL reduce the Drama Triangle in dreams? IDL short-circuits this process by re-framing your perception of both waking and dreaming sources of anxiety  and depression, so that they need not work themselves out in your dreams. For example, Lorna dreamed that she was in her apartment, up to her waist in water.  She was not feeling particularly in danger, although she was worried about all the water damage.  The water was, in her dream perception, in the role of Persecutor while she was in the role of victim. Dreams like this tend to reinforce life scripts that say, “The world is a dangerous place, full of overwhelming threats, and I am a powerless victim of those threats.”

While this dream was somewhat stressful, it is more like a typical dream than a full-blown nightmare. It just as easily could have never been remembered. However, even if it had not been recalled, both the physiological stress processes during the dream and the emotional conclusions that Lorna drew during the dream would have occurred, undercutting both her health and her peace of mind. Lorna’s recall of her dream provided her with an opportunity to not only understand the Drama Triangle in the three realms in her life but allowed her to take steps to defuse them to limit future needless physical and psychological damage.

When the Water  was interviewed, it said, “I am all the medications that Lorna is taking for her back pain.  I am tranquilizing her because she is afraid of feeling how bad the pain  may be.  She is being swamped by her fear.  If she doesn’t stop taking us she is not going to get well.  Also, by taking us she does not face up to how her fear keeps her trapped in her apartment.  She is afraid to go out because then something else bad might happen to her.”

This statement by water brings together elements no dream interpreter ever will. You will not read in any guide to dream symbology that water is a symbol for medicine and while it is possible that Lorna would make this association, it is unlikely. How likely is it that any interpreter would associate water not only to medicine but back pain medicine, as well as to fear of pain and how that is associated with her staying trapped in her apartment. Yet in one statement the water makes all of these important and significant connections.

Lorna had been injured in a rear-end collision.  Years previously she had sustained a head injury from a freak accident when a falling tree limb hit her.  Now, as before, she was afraid to go outside.  By listening to the water in her dream Lorna was able to see that her fear was paralyzing her and causing her to take too much pain  medication, which was swamping her with sedation.  The water was no longer perceived as her Persecutor; instead it took the role of Helper, providing her with important and useful information to understand not only how she was her own worst enemy but pointing her toward what she needed to do to stop creating needless fears.

Armed with this information, Lorna told her doctor that she wanted to cut back on the pain meds.  The doctor was upset with her, feeling that she was non-compliant and attempting to doctor herself.  The doctor was responding as he had been taught, to her pain symptoms, rather than recognizing how her pain medication  itself was a defense against a more fundamental problem – her long-term fear. Her doctor, who probably saw himself as a Helper, was in the Role of Rescuer but in fact in the Role of Persecutor in that he was contributing to Lorna’s physiological and psychological dysfunctions. Lorna had to change doctors.  When she finally decreased taking the pain meds she immediately became less groggy and less fearful.  She could now feel her pain, so she could more accurately tell her new doctor where she hurt so he could help her.  Clearly, if Lorna had not listened to a relatively insignificant and typical dream she might have made her recovery longer and much more complicated. 

Her dream and what she did with the recommendations that she derived from it is an example of how IDL works to move people out of the Drama Triangle in the three realms of relationships, thought and dreaming.

Arthur Seligman  has described something very similar to Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome  in his explanation of depression  as learned helplessness.  He explains how cows, when stuck in a bog, will bellow and struggle ferociously to get free.  After a while, if their efforts are to no avail, they will struggle less; they have entered the adaptive phase of Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome.  If they continue to be sucked down into the bog, they will put up one last heroic struggle before drowning.    Seligman  noted that cows that are trapped in bogs and yet do not die learn not to struggle; they stop trying to get out, even if they could.  This is adaptation to the ongoing stress  of Selye’s second stage of his General Adaptation Syndrome and resembles our habituation to chronic immersion in the Drama Triangle in our waking relationships, our thoughts and in our dreams.

(Picture from Windra.info)

Seligman  noted that some of these hopelessly trapped cows that were rescued from bogs by farmers would head right back into the bog again!  Do we not do the same when we return to the Drama Triangle and to our addictions? Could it be possible that we do something similar in our dreams?  Just as we can get addicted to worry, horror movies or creepy detective thrillers, could it be that we get addicted to creating drama-filled dream  vignettes that increase our stress and keep us sick? Repetitive, stressful dreams  and nightmares  appear to point to such a conclusion.

If we want to protect our health it is not enough to think good thoughts, take our vitamins and be politically correct. We need to eliminate the Drama Triangle in the three realms.  We need to learn how to make dreaming as positive an experience as we possibly can.    IDL not only teaches us how to recognize and neutralize drama stress; it amplifies forces in consciousness that actively support health, whether awake or asleep.

What is the most helpful way to view my dreams to move out of the Drama Triangle? View them as wake-up calls.

It is wise to treat both your dreams and your life events as wake-up calls.  When you interview dream characters, particularly Persecutors, such as monsters, attackers, accidents or natural disasters they will generally say that their purpose is to get your attention, to wake you up. You can test this theory for yourself by doing your own interviews, and you are encouraged to do so. Whether dream and waking events are, in reality, wake-up calls, approaching them as if they are moves us out of the Drama Triangle because we are not perceiving experience in terms of persecution, rescuing or victimization.  Instead, both dream and waking experiences are seen as helping when properly listened to in an deep and integral way. Doing so allows you to reframe unpleasant, uncomfortable, painful, confusing or irrelevant dream and life events as teaching experiences that support your further development. 

1 Diagram: Bartow, J. Getting to Know Our Personality, Soul and Spiritual Cycles in Life

Posted in Dream, Escaping Drama, Health and Exercise

Conscience and the Drama Triangle

 Conscience is your still small voice, the one that tells you right from wrong and good from bad. It is your connection to God. Your conscience keeps you from sin. Without conscience you are an animal, without guidance, ethics, morals, or social norms. If you would only listen to it and follow it, you would be happy. Humanity’s perversity is its failure to listen to and do the bidding of its conscience.

Or so they say. Conscience is perhaps the oldest, most hallowed bit of delusion in the consciousness of humanity. To question it is to go against God, society, the soul, the Good, religion, and love. What could be worse? What could be more blasphemous?

Whenever you try to make yourself do something you don’t want to do or not do something that you want to do, are you listening to your conscience? Conscience is mother’s milk laced with small, regular doses of heroin. The crack is not enough to kill you, but enough to addict you when you are still too young to remember it happening. The rewards of conformity to conscience as well as the punishments if you disobey it, are strong enough to keep you addicted for your entire life. Marx would have been been more accurate if he had said, “Conscience is the opium of the people.”

Isn’t the purpose of your conscience to keep you safe and healthy so that you will be a good child, citizen, and child of God? These are the types of good intentions that parents and leaders have. They themselves may not be aware that conscience also has the benefit of being a powerful tool for your socialization and pacification. If I, as your parent, teacher, President or guru can get you to do what I want automatically, because you think it is “God’s will” or “conscience,” then my life gets a lot easier. You are more likely to obey me and less likely to ask questions, refuse orders, or disobey laws. Whenever your parents, or some religious or spiritual leader want to get you to do something, to think a certain way, or wish to protect themselves behind a shield of unimpeachable credibility, what can they do? Can’t they present themselves as the voice of conscience?

Can’t conscience be a good thing? How about “Eat your vegetables,” or, “Don’t play in the street.” Such statements are not conscience but rather simple pieces of information, called “injunctions,” given for rational reasons, like health and safety. However, if they are given with threat of punishment (“….or else!”) or with a serving of “should,” “ought,” “must,” and guilt, they are conscience and abusive, because they are Persecutors that create and maintain the Drama Triangle in your thoughts and relationships.

Most people will tell you that what is really conscience is the same for everyone. However, isn’t it true that conscience differs according to culture, religions, social norms and mores? Won’t most Christians and Jews argue that their conscience is different from the Islamic conscience? Isn’t that what the branding of Islam as terroristic claims? Won’t Arabs and other people in countries bombed by the US and NATO argue that people in the West either have no conscience or a very different sense of what conscience means, if conscience allows them to do such things?

When you listen to and follow your conscience are you thinking for yourself? Are you instead following the internalized moral precepts of your family, culture and religion? Have you not so completely internalized them that you think their injunctions are your conscience? The inculcation of the vast majority of what is called “conscience” is a loving process of abuse and victimization within the Drama Triangle. Parents and cultures everywhere find the internalization of social values, called “socialization,” as conscience highly useful. Someday it will be widely recognized as such and parents will teach their children not only the difference between conscience and their life compass, but how to find, listen to, and follow their life compass. They will learn how to beware of anyone or anything that claims to speak as their conscience.

Life compass” is a term used by Integral Deep Listening (IDL) to refer to consensus perspectives and recommendations you access by interviewing the personifications of dream characters and life issues that are important to you. These perspectives, called “emerging potentials,” are not the children of your parents, culture, religion or society like you are. They have their own priorities and are not afraid to disagree with yours and the voice of your conscience. You can listen to both your conscience and interviewed emerging potentials, compare them and decide for yourself which has your greatest good as its primary interest.

You are the product of a number of beliefs that you had to accept to survive, adapt, and grow in your family and school. Weren’t you much less likely to disobey if the preferences of your parents, teachers and society were called “conscience” and you were told that this was something innate within you, or the same as God’s will? To trespass against your conscience may be a threat to your society, religion, or family, and therefore a threat to you, when you are punished for disobeying authority figures.

Conscience presents itself as acting in your own good. It knows what is best for you and tells you its actions are only because it cares about and loves you. It is selfless, and you ignore it at your own peril. How is this different from a Rescuer in the Drama Triangle who tells you, “I know what you need. I am only trying to help you. If you don’t listen to me you are ungrateful and foolish.”

Conscience carries the marks not of a Helper, but of a Rescuer within the Drama Triangle. Rescuers are not Helpers, because they mask self-interest behind a facade of care for others. They do not ask if their help is needed, they do not check to see if the help they are giving is useful, and they do not stop “helping,” preferring self-martyrdom and burn-out to recognition of their selfishness.

Your conscience knows what is good for you and speaks up without you asking. It doesn’t check to see if its voice is helping, because it knows that it, by its nature, is helping. It doesn’t have to check.  It refuses to stop demanding you follow it, unless you shut it out with a drug or some other type of intense avoidant stimulation.

Conscience as Rescuer promotes its truth, way, thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and actions, not yours, and certainly not the priorities of your life compass.  Your life compass, revealed by interviewing your emerging potentials as they manifest as dream characters and the personifications of your life issues, balances and evolves confidence, empathy, wisdom, acceptance, and witnessing within yourself. Unlike conscience, it is selfless. If the priorities of your life compass and conscience happen to coincide it is coincidence, not due to any awareness or intention of your conscience.

On yet closer examination, you will find that your conscience not only is not your friend, it is never  was or has been your friend. This is because it never wants you to listen to yourself. It only wants you to listen to it.  Your conscience doesn’t trust you. It doesn’t respect your judgment. It doesn’t even like you unless you are doing what it wants. How is this different from the role of Persecutor in the Drama Triangle which tells you, “I am only punishing you for your own good”? Isn’t it amazing that you continue to give your conscience any attention or any respect at all?

Persecutors do not see themselves as persecutors. They only say what they say for your own good; they only do what they do because they love you. This means that if your parents or teachers yell at you or call you ugly, stupid, or a failure, it is only for your own good. Verbal abuse in the name of conscience is not verbal abuse at all; it is “character strengthening,” and if you knew what was good for you, you would agree with it and change.

If you examine your conscience closely, you will discover that it is the Persecutor role in the Drama Triangle masquerading as the Rescuer, which is itself masquerading as a Helper. Your conscience is deception wrapped in deception; is there any surprise that so many believe in it and that so few ever free themselves from it? How many people ever stop to ask themselves, “How much of what I call my conscience is different from what my parents, culture or this or that peer group believes?” How much of what I call my conscience is probably internalized social and cultural norms?”

When rulers, people, and nations declare war on you in the name of God and then bomb you, destroy your towns, scatter cancer-causing munitions-grade uranium all over your fields, rape your wife and daughters, and torture you to death, is it not for the greater good, for democracy, justice and God, because conscience dictates? People who believe in conscience and then do such things have a very high rate of suicide. As of this writing, the suicide rate of American military veterans is currently twenty-two a day, about one every hour. There is one suicide a day among active duty US military, all among people acting on the basis of “conscience.” This is because their conscience has contradicted their life compass on such a fundamental level that there is no way to rationalize away the discrepancy. Unable to escape the cognitive dissonance, but unable, unwilling, or ignorant of how to free themselves of the tyranny of conscience, they kill themselves in an attempt at self-rescue.

How to escape conscience? There is no alternative to sorting through your thoughts, feelings, and motives, one by one, and finding out which script injunctions you carry that are informational facts and which are guilt-creating, persecutorial, “shoulds,” “oughts,” and “musts.” This is why IDL has chapters in Waking Up both on recognizing and freeing yourself from your life script as well as on the major emotional cognitive distortions. If you want to learn to think for yourself you must exorcise the internalized toxic directives of the ghosts of your parents that are living rent-free in your attic. Keep the nurturing voices of your parents but evict the rest!

Your conscience is never, ever representative of your life compass. How do you tell the difference? If you will learn to interview your emerging potentials you will slowly learn to differentiate between your life compass and conscience. Your life compass doesn’t do drama. It’s not in the Drama Triangle. It works to balance confidence, empathy, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. If you don’t follow it, it doesn’t threaten you or try to make you feel guilty any more than a compass that points north cares if you go east or south. However, when you do follow your life compass, life gets easier. You have a deep inner sense that you are on the right path for your life. You will have a confidence in who you are and where you are headed regardless of what others may think or say. You will be able to speak and act with authority because you will be in alignment with what is true, good and harmonious for you. As you move into this sacred space you outgrow any need for conscience, not because you no longer listen to it, but because you subject its voice to a higher, more authentic authority that is uniquely your own.

A debate between believers and non-believers in conscience


Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives.”

 Thomas Merton

 The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.” 

 John Calvin

[T]he infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.” 

 Bertrand Russell

(Russell is universally hated by all those who cannot or will not think.)


There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Conscience is a very poor, unreliable reason to do what is right, if only because your worst enemy appeals to the same justification. Doing what is right? For who? Under what circumstances?)

If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” 

 Charlotte Brontë

(If you do what you think is right you don’t have to care whether it makes sense or is useful.)

Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does.” 

 Evan Esar

Guilt is also a way for us to express to others that we are a person of good conscience. 

 Tom Hodgkinson

(The conscience of the personality disordered and of the two year old are both free of guilt.)

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.”

 Richard Bach 

(This is very true, but probably not in the sense Bach means it. Because conscience wants what is best for itself, and not for your life compass, it is not only selfish, but completely honest about its selfishness.)


Character is doing what you don’t want to do but know you should do.”

Joyce Meyer

 (“Should,” is a dead giveaway that we are dealing with conscience in the form of the Persecutor role in the Drama Triangle.) 

Betrayal is common for men with no conscience.” 

Toba Beta 

(That is because betrayal is a motive often projected upon others, conscience or no conscience.)

Let us give ourselves indiscriminately to everything our passions suggest, and we will always be happy…Conscience is not the voice of Nature but only the voice of prejudice.”

 Marquis de Sade

(The Marquis is feared by purveyors of guilt and conscience everywhere.)

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.” 

 Mahatma Gandhi

(Gandhi, who beat his wife regularly, did so with a clear conscience. Tyrants do not want what is good for you; they do not want what is good for the majority; they only want what is good for them, but mask their selfishness with conscience. Tyrants of all sorts are by nature selfish persecutors, lost in the Drama Triangle.)

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.”

 Mahatma Gandhi

(“Forget democracy and consensus governance; I don’t care what you think.”)

There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.” 


(For Polybius, conscience is a persecutor and tyrant, but that’s a good thing.)

Conscience is thus explained only as the voice of God in the soul.”

 Peter Kreeft

(When societal injunctions have the force of God’s will and are defined as both your central truth and intuition, then you are transformed into a zombie, the waking dead servant of current cultural preferences.)


Conscience and cowardice are really the same things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.”

 Oscar Wilde

(You don’t have to think for yourself or work out difficult moral dilemmas if you appeal to your conscience.)


Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”

 (Reply to the Diet of Worms, April 18, 1521)”

 Martin Luther

(Martin Luther demonstrates that when you follow your conscience, you put yourself on a diet of worms. His conscience produced some of the most discriminatory bile ever to be uttered by a man of God and conscience. See http://ergofabulous.org/luther/)

Between the radiant white of a clear conscience and the coal black of a conscience sullied by sin lie many shades of gray–where most of us live our lives. Not perfect but not beyond redemption.” 

 Sherry L. Hoppe

(There can never be either integration or union within the framework of the metaphysical dualism that conscience creates and maintains.)

True law, the code of justice, the essence of our sensations of right and wrong, is the conscience of society. It has taken thousands of years to develop, and it is the greatest, the most distinguishing quality which has developed with mankind … If we can touch God at all, where do we touch him save in the conscience? And what is the conscience of any man save his little fragment of the conscience of all men in all time?” 

 Walter Van Tilburg Clark

(A clear expression of conscience as simply the transmission of socio-cultural norms.)

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.” 

 H.L. Mencken

(If you can teach me to fear the consequences of my behavior, based on what you have taught me to call my conscience, I will monitor myself, freeing you and society to do as you will.)

I have a different idea of elegance. I don’t dress like a fop, it’s true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honor, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven’t washed away. I’m always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper then the finest mustache, and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.”

 Edmond Rostand

(Conscience as social propriety.)

Perhaps conscience did not always produce cowards. Sometimes it made a man feel better about himself.”

 Robert Ludlum

(Is the purpose of conscience not only to make you feel better about yourself, but to feel superior to all those others you judge as acting less out of conscience?)

 An educator should consider that he has failed in his job if he has not succeeded in instilling some trace of a divine dissatisfaction with our miserable social environment. ” 

 Anthony Standen

(Guilt and conscience are the foundations of a good education.)

It is neither right nor safe to go against my conscience.” 

 Martin Luther

(Since your conscience is a punishing Persecutor, it is unwise to go against it.)

No guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.” 

 Stefan Zweig

(Conscience as enforcer of guilt.)

Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.” 

 Jim Carroll

(Jim does not mean what he is saying. He means that conscience is the knowledge of the ancients. What he is saying is that conscience is a haunting by voices that seek you to follow their truth, not that of your life compass.)


The immature conscience is not its own master. It simply parrots the decisions of others. It does not make judgments of its own; it merely conforms to the judgments of others. That is not real freedom, and it makes true love impossible, for if we are to love truly and freely, we must be able to give something that is truly our own to another. If our heart does not belong to us, asks Merton, how can we give it to another?”

 Jon Katz


(Jon has drunk the Kool Aid. He still thinks there is such a thing as a good conscience.)


Anybody can be charming if they don’t mind faking it, saying all the stupid, obvious, nauseating things that a conscience keeps most people from saying. Happily, I don’t have a conscience. I say them.” 

 Jeff Lindsay

(The opposite of conscience is not immorality, as this quote implies; it is the freedom to find and follow your life compass.)

The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power–and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition.

But that’s not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.” 

 Barack Obama

(…a professor of Constitutional law who justifies both the personally ordered murder of civilians with drones, some of whom have been US citizens, in clear violation of both US and international law – all in the name of conscience.)

The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works. The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.” 

 Criss Jami

(Other people are not the cause of your unhappiness; what you tell yourself you should and should not do in the name of conscience is.)

Posted in Escaping Drama

“All You Need Is Love?” How important is Learning to Think?

Life probably did not spend the last two million years evolving frontal lobes for the fun of it. Executive functions like problem solving as well as parietal lobe functions like language have huge adaptive advantages. This is so obvious that it is something of a mystery why so many people who seek spiritual growth distrust reason and tend to view people who ask questions and look for evidence as cold, egg-headed intellectuals, as if it were impossible for love and reason to co-exist. The truth is, reason without love is, like Mr. Spock in Star Trek, dispassionate and seemingly lacking in compassion, while love without reason, like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, is naively trusting and less than honest about its true preferences, for fear of offending others and appearing unloving.

For these reasons, Integral Deep Listening (IDL) attempts to honor both love and reason. It honors love by showing respect, not only to other people, but to dream characters and the personification of our life issues. It attempts to treat all others, not just all other people, as we would want to be treated if we were them. Is there a higher form of love? More specifically, love is taught by IDL through its interviewing protocols and the application in our daily lives of the recommendations that issue from them. IDL honors thinking by teaching problem solving, objectivity and reasoning ability as essential tools to become unstuck from our current dramas so that we are free to move forward. It teaches reason by encouraging the examination of personal scripting so we can transcend its imprisoning injunctions, cognitive distortions, so that emotional, logical and perceptual delusions do not act as filters that stand between us and our life compass, our direction forward. All these areas and their rationales are addressed in Waking Up

What follows is the chapter in Waking Up on logical, or formal, cognitive distortions. These are common errors in reasoning which, if unrecognized, create misery, misunderstanding and self-inflicted barriers to development regardless of how much love you have in your heart, how pure your intent is, or how wise your particular guru might be. IDL believes that if you do not learn to recognize and call out these forms of irrationality they will keep you from thinking clearly and solving the interpersonal and life problems that matter to you. If you meditate to learn to witness, to gain objectivity regarding your life dramas, but do not recognize and catch these logical fallacies, your meditation will continue to operate in a prepersonal, prerational, belief-based context rather than in the transpersonal context that you desire and are sure you are in.  That’s how important it is to understand and catch logical fallacies.

Therefore, you are encouraged to start looking for these common flaws in thinking in what you read, your conversations with others, and, most importantly, in your own thoughts. Once you identify one, name it for what it is. This is the first, essential step in learning to choose a way forward that is both loving and rational. As always, IDL welcomes your questions, experiences and contributions as we help each other to wake up and move into more effective, compassionate deep listening and service to all sentient beings.

7: Getting Rid of Your Logical Cognitive Distortions

Why logical fallacies matter

We have seen that identifying when others are in the Drama Triangle provides you with the objectivity to choose not to respond with a complementary role, saving you untold amounts of interpersonal grief. We have seen how identifying when you are in the Drama Triangle in your thoughts and feelings — your cognitive domain — provides you with the objectivity to choose to stop persecuting or rescuing yourself or playing the victim in your own thoughts and feelings. We have also seen how identifying when you are in the Drama Triangle while you are dreaming provides you with the objectivity to stop generating the drama that is the seedbed for waking suffering.

We have also seen how identifying your emotional cognitive distortions interrupts drama. Irrational thoughts and images no longer generate dysfunctional emotional conclusions, including anxiety and depression. By identifying your cognitive distortions you are cultivating the witness by objectifying your feelings. Instead of your feelings describing you, as in “I’m sad; I’m angry,” they are characteristics or expressions that are available to you: “I am feeling sad;” “I am choosing to feel angry.” Such witnessing is one of the six core qualities. It allows you to observe yourself and the drama of your life going by. It is meant to be applied in your relationships, thinking and dreaming.

Logical fallacies are rational, or mid-personal delusions, which is very different from emotional cognitive distortions, which are pre-rational, mid-prepersonal delusions. Logical fallacies are a formal type of cognitive distortion and represent categories of delusional ways of thinking that are broader than emotional cognitive distortions. As such, logical fallacies are more abstract and therefore more difficult to grasp at first. They require causal or rational thinking, not simply the habitual, scripted impulsive language of emotional cognitive distortions. However, once you recognize these categories you will not only think more clearly but you will find yourself getting drawn less frequently into the delusional thought processes of friends on social media, newscasts, salesmen, politicians, bosses, employees, and family members.

Although anyone at any level of development can indulge in emotional, logical and perceptual cognitive distortions, logical fallacies are fundamentally errors in reasoning, and reasoning is a mid-personal level competency. Failure to catch logical fallacies is a sign that cognitive development, generally the leading line, is not yet mid-personal, so those behaviors and statements that appear to be above and beyond, such as altruism and mystical experiences either indicate outstanding developmental lines or authentic healthy expressions of lower stages of development.

Because cognition is a line of development, the ability to think logically is also a sign of your degree of cognitive development. Just because you have had mystical experiences, lucid dreams or are psychic is no indication that you think straight and therefore are anywhere past early personal, at best, in your overall level of development. If you want to have clarity about mystical experiences, states, and stages, you need to learn how to recognize and avoid logical cognitive distortions, which are different from emotional cognitive distortions. While both are delusions, fallacies are mistakes either in your assumptions or the conclusions that you draw from them. They do not so much make you depressed or anxious as they keep you stuck in thinking you’re right when you’re wrong, real when you’re illusory, clear when you’re muddy, and straight when you are as twisted as a barrel full of eels.

Just because you access a transpersonal state in no way indicates that you are at a transpersonal level of development. In order to stabilize at a higher level of development on a permanent basis you have to learn to think straight. Why? Because the transpersonal transcends and includes both prepersonal faith and belief and personal level rationality. If something isn’t rational, it may be a miracle, it may be oneness, it may be unifying, or divine love, but it doesn’t represent and individual at a transpersonal level of development. Instead, it indicates a transpersonal state, and children and criminals can and do have them.

Mystical experiences of all sorts do not translate into ongoing transpersonal states. To access and maintain a higher level of development you have to learn to witness both your prepersonal and personal levels of development. Staying out of the Drama Triangle is a way to teach you to witness your emotional identifications at whatever stage you are presently stuck. Staying out of logical cognitive distortions is a way to teach you to witness your rational blockages at whatever stage you are presently stuck. Recognizing logical fallacies is a further refinement of this ability to witness personal level delusions that can and will be carried into mystical states if you do not learn to witness those delusions.

You are unlikely to make many friends by pointing out logical fallacies, so be careful! People tend to take personally being shown that they are irrational or don’t know what they are talking about when they generally are sure that they do and are confident that they are making perfect sense. Practice a little empathy and realize that you are likely to be viewed as opinionated, arrogant, non-empathetic, a stickler for details and someone who just misses the point if you point out the logical fallacies of others. Of course such reactions are defenses to keep us from facing the fact that we just don’t know what we are talking about, but are already so self-critical that we take the noting of our logical fallacies as personal criticism. Consequently, unless your relationship is a good one, you are a teacher, or you have some other permission to point out formal cognitive distortions, it is generally best to note them to yourself and avoid the topic if you can. However, lie in wait for neutral moments when you might be able to bring up the fallacy that was used but in relation to someone else who used it with the person. If you point it out and see how it operates, they are learning about it and are less likely to use it themselves in the future.

There are over three hundred identified cognitive distortions! Here are some of the more common ones, why they are dangerous and you need to avoid them and some suggestions about how to do so. In the tables accompanying each category, the initials “ECD” and “DT” stand for “emotional cognitive distortion” and “Drama Triangle.” For a fuller list and treatment, see “Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies.”

Ad Hominem

Latin for “to the man,” ad hominem is an attempt to discredit an opinion, perspective or point of view by attacking the person instead of their argument. Here are a couple examples:

“What do you know about intuition? You’re a man.”

“What do you know about business? You’re a woman.”

Do you see how insulting this sounds? Do you see how evasive ad hominem is? Do you see how gender has absolutely nothing to do with the point in question?

The best response to ad hominem as well as all logical cognitive distortions is to shift levels. If you protest an argument (“I know a lot about intuition!” “I have been in business for forty years!”) you have given a diversionary argument credibility. Instead, you have to refuse to play. You do so by simply saying, “That is an ad hominem argument. You are attempting to discredit what I am saying by attacking me. That’s a logical fallacy.” What you are doing is responding to a personal attack with information. This keeps you in a neutral, responsible adult role and relatively out of drama.

Example That’s not an ad hominem …. you idiot.
Summary Translates as “to the man” and refers to attacks on some opponent rather than on the validity of their evidence or logic.
Related ECD/DT Blaming oneself, a form of self-persecution, is a form of ad hominem attack; because you fail you attack yourself as a failure.
Avoiding it. Assume attack on personality or character is this logical fallacy until proven otherwise.

Faulty Cause

Also called Post Hoc, these arguments assume that because one thing happened after another that it must have been caused by it. Instead of showing a causal link between ideas you are substituting association or relationship:

“Many women claim to be pacifists, but before women got the vote, there were no nuclear weapons.”

“I ate spinach and came down with hives. Eating spinach causes hives.”

You can see that there is no causal relationship between the conclusion and premise of these statements.

To deal with ad hoc, ask questions. “How is it that you think that turning on the seatbelt sign causes it to get bumpy?” “What makes you think that eating spinach causes hives?” Simply questioning may cause a person to realize the absurdity of their claim.

Example Because Russia is our enemy, Russia must have done it.
Summary Instead of showing a causal link between ideas you are substituting association or relationship:
Avoiding it Question the underlying assumptions.


Dogmatism is one of the most basic and primitive of logical fallacies because it doesn’t even pretend to be rational. The speaker is so sure of his or her certainty and truth that it is offensive and beneath them to even appeal to rationality. There is an obvious and evident disdain for logic, reason and causation because they are beneath the level of trans-rational truth that the speaker discloses.

This form of irrationality remains remarkably prevalent and current in an increasingly skeptical world that expects proof, reasons and knows how to fact-check. The reason why it is still so widely used is because dogmatism cannot be refuted because it never claims to be rational or logical in the first place.

Anything that validates or justifies itself on the basis of some metaphysical reality or entity, like God, or some faculty that cannot be measured, such as intuition, a hunch, luck, fate, the heart, psychism or spirituality, takes upon itself the burden of proof to show how and why it is not dogmatic.

A simple way to determine if a statement is dogmatic is by observing the response to any request for proof or validation. It will typically be an appeal to the authority of one’s own “inner voice,” to God, a psychic, or to scripture, all sources which are themselves dogmatic, in that they do not base their truth on reason or logic. If the validity of these sources is questioned, the response is generally a form of anger, indicating a sense of violation and personalization, a fundamental emotional cognitive distortion.

Example “I believe because it is absurd.” (Tertullian)
Summary A direct appeal to the authority of belief, ignoring or defying reason.
Related DT Self-righteous persecutor seeing self as rescuer
Avoiding it Name it: “That is dogmatism.” Explain why it is toxic and shuts down communication.

False Dilemma

You present only two possible alternatives to a complex situation when in fact there are many more possibilities.

“You don’t support our troops, and that makes you a traitor.”

“You are either with God or you are against him.”

“I thought you were a good person but you weren’t in church today.”

One response is to point out that it is a logical fallacy, as a question, and then to explain why:

“Isn’t this a logical fallacy called a false dilemma? Isn’t it possible for someone to not support our troops and be patriotic when they are fighting and unjust war?”

“…Isn’t it possible that one might not believe in God or support some things attributed to God, like blessings, and not others, like earthquakes and disease?”

“…Isn’t it possible that good people might not go to church or perhaps the church is filled with bad people who only think they’re good?”

Example “You either love me or him.”
Summary You attempt to force agreement or rejection by presenting a black and white, yes or no choice when other possibilities are present.
Avoiding it Name it: “That is a logical fallacy called “false dilemma” because there are other choices available.

Guilt by Association

I will attempt to undercut your credibility by associating you with someone terrible, like Hitler.

“How can you defend Christianity? Torquemada was a Christian.”

“You hang out with rednecks; therefore you must be a redneck.”

The best response is to say, “The strength of my argument stands or falls on its own merit, regardless of who makes it.”

Example “You’re Jewish so you must be a Zionist.”
Summary A form of hasty generalization, a logical fallacy.
Avoiding it Question your assumptions and seek additional information to verify them.

Loaded Question

Your question puts controversial or unjustified conditions on my answer:

“In your opinion, what makes the iPhone the best smartphone?”

“Do you still beat your wife?”

You can see pretty clearly that there is no way you can answer a loaded question without being manipulated. In the case of, “Does this dress make me look fat?” this is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Therefore, the best response is to say, “That’s a loaded question which is a type of logical fallacy. No answer I give can be truthful or accurate.”

Example “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
Summary Any answer to a loaded question is a trap.
Avoiding it Name it: “That is a loaded question. If I say ‘yes,’ it implies I was beating her before; if I say ‘no,’ it implies I am still beating her.”

Straw Man Fallacy

You make stuff up and attribute it to your opponent, hoping either your opponent will waste time defending what she didn’t say or that listeners won’t know your opponent’s position well enough to know that you are not attacking it. The other person’s position is presented as so extreme that no one will agree with it.

“Since you don’t believe in God or souls you are a nihilist and nihilists find no meaning or purpose in life. Therefore you are saying life has no meaning or purpose.”

Respond by saying, “That is the ‘straw man’ logical fallacy because you are arguing that I am a nihilist when I am not.”

Example You Support Hitler, who gassed Jews.
Summary Raises a false argument and destroys it
Related ECD Jumping to Conclusions
Avoiding it Say, “You are changing the subject. I said I support peace.”

Hasty Generalization

One blind scholar grabs an elephants’ trunk and declares an elephant is like a snake. Another, its ear and concludes it resembles a palm leaf, and so forth. This is a failure to ask questions and gather a broad body of evidence on which to reach some statement of truth. This is a formal variety of the emotional cognitive distortion of “Jumping to Conclusions.” The difference is in the level of abstraction. Jumping to conclusions will be primarily motivated by feelings or evoke strong ones, like blaming a child for farting at the table when it was the dog underneath it. Hasty Generalizations cloak emotional bias in statements that sound objective and factual: “All politicians/men/women are the same.”

Deal with Hasty Generalizations by asking questions. “Have you considered grabbing the tail as well?” “Isn’t Bowzer lying under the table?”

Example If I won once (at the casino) I will win again.
Summary Mistakes a small incidence for a larger trend.
Related ECD/DT A common rationalization to support addiction
Avoiding it Ask, “Is there information on probability I should take into account?”

Begging the Question

“Begging the Question” is a circular argument in which the conclusion is included in the premise. You make an assumption and don’t ask if the assumption is correct. You avoid asking the important question.

“I believe in God because God IS.”

“The Bible is the Word of God because God tells us it is…in the Bible.”

“Psychic experience is real because I have had psychic experiences.”

Say, “Aren’t you presupposing that the claim that psychic experience is real is true? How is this not circular reasoning?” See if you can identify the important underlying question and ask it: “How is that a proof of the existence of God?” “How do we know God and not people wrote the Bible?”

Example Climate change deniers are dangerous because they deny climate change.
Summary Repeats the same argument over and over again, instead of providing substantiation for it.  A = A, with nothing else!
Avoiding it Ask,”How are you not saying this is true because it is true?”

Ad ignorantiam

“My belief is true because we don’t know it isn’t true.”

This fallacy is pervasive among believers in placebo cures like homeopathy, kinesiology, energy medicine, shamanism, laying on of hands or prayer and those advocating systems of belief that cannot be disproved, like intuition, “gut feelings,” psychic perception, God, souls and life after death.

The philosopher Karl Popper pointed out that if an idea, belief or assertion isn’t falsifiable there is no way to prove it to be true. That is, if you don’t have any way to disprove a claim then you have no grounds for believing in it either.

The way to deal with arguments from ad ignorantiam is to innocently ask, “Is there any evidence that this operates above chance?” What this statement does is attempt to avoid the endless anecdotes and examples of miracle cures and proofs of God’s existence from near death experiences. However, True Believers will simply be offended and dismiss you as an overly-critical skeptic anal asshole. Therefore, unless you don’t mind being the skunk at the picnic, it is perhaps better to change the subject in an informational way: “Are you familiar with the fascinating research into placebo effects?” or, “Are you familiar with the ad ignorantiam logical fallacy?” The object is to attempt to have an informational conversation without getting into a preachy or condescending place.

Example “There is an ancient civilization under the ice of antarctica.”
Summary If you manage to drill through miles of antarctic ice and find nothing it is because you have searched in the wrong place.
Avoiding it These arguments are irrational and pre-rational; therefore there is really nothing you can say that is going to be heard. At most you can point out that it is a logical fallacy called ad ignorantiam, because it cannot be disproven. Treat these claims like the tar babies they are – avoid them.

Burden of Proof Reversal

I make a claim and make it your job to prove or disprove it.

“We know Jesus walked on water. You can’t disprove it.”

“Reptilian aliens call Dracos exist and control the governments of the world.”

“A pre-Adamic civilization billions of years old has been discovered under the ice of Antarctica and its existence hidden from humanity by the government.”

This is a relatively easy fallacy to recognize and counter. Just say, “May I see your evidence?”

Example “There is a world-wide conspiracy.”
Summary Generally the statement of an assertion as fact, with the implication that you have to disprove it.
Avoiding it Asking, “May I see your evidence?” may work in some cases, but beware – this can enmesh you in endless debate about irrelevant or difficult to prove topics

Non Sequitur

The conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise.

“”People died of cancer before smoking was invented, so smoking doesn’t cause cancer.”

“People like to have mystical experiences. Therefore they should drop acid.”

Say, “Excuse me…I’m confused. Could you please explain to me how that conclusion follows from your first statement?” Since this cannot be done, the other party generally figures out that they have been caught and then changes the subject.

Example If you loved me, you’d love this car.
Summary Translates as “it does not follow,” confuses correlation for cause, because one thing followed another — but there might be another cause.
Avoiding it Ask: “Could there be another cause?” “Are these two ideas related?”

Develop a healthy sense of skepticism.

Bandwagon Fallacy

If it’s popular, it must be correct!

Because “everybody” believes something it must be true.

“Everybody says Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, so it must be true.”

“Everybody says Russia is a threat that hacked our elections, so it must be true.”

“Everybody I know believes in no-gluten diets so they must work.”

“Everybody is smoking, getting tattoos and piercings, drinking, doing drugs and having sex, so I should too, especially if I want to be popular.”

Ask, “How does the popularity of no-gluten diets have any relevance at all to whether it is effective or not?”

Example Everyone’s doing it, so it must be OK.
Summary Uses social acceptability as a cudgel to demand conformity. Ignores the reality of non-majority information, facts, and arguments.
Avoiding it Ask, “Is this groupthink, another collective delusion?”

Argument from Authority

You appeal to the authority of a popular or authoritative person rather than to a knowledgeable one.

“Because I said so, that’s why.”

“To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.” Cardinal Bellarmine, Trial of Galileo, 1633.

Ask yourself, “Does this information come from someone competent in this field?”

Say, “That is an argument from authority, a logical fallacy. What does the endorsement by this person have to do with deciding whether this product/point is useful/valid or not?”

Example He’s popular and he smokes… smoke and you’ll be popular too.
Summary You change the subject from the evidence to some respected endorser of it.

Victims require rescuing, creating susceptibility to this fallacy,

Ingnorance requires expert opinon, creating susceptibility to this fallacy.

Avoiding it Ask, “Does this authority have expertise in this area?”


Interrupting is your way of demonstrating that what you have to say is more important than what the other person has to say. Interrupting is manipulative, controlling, thoughtless and selfish, providing that the other person isn’t being controlling by talking in paragraphs or telling long stories that require patient listening, without first getting the permission of the audience.

Interrupting is a very common and effective way of establishing control in a conversation and dominance in a relationship. Therefore it has large emotional and social benefits and is a difficult habit to break.

If you don’t want to be interrupted, do three things:

  1. Don’t interrupt. If you do you are giving others permission to interrupt you.
  2. Don’t talk in paragraphs. If you do you are giving others no choice but to interrupt you.
  3. When people interrupt stop what you are saying and point out that they are interrupting. Have a conversation about the reasons and consequences of interrupting. Get an agreement that you will not interrupt each other.
    Example “…it’s sufficient reason to…”Which reminds me of the time when..”
    Summary Perhaps the most common and overlooked form of abuse and persectution in the Drama Triangle.
    Avoiding it Ask, “Do you realize you just interrupted me?”

Changing the Subject

You have probably noticed by now that formal cognitive distortions use confusion or distraction to change the subject. When this is the case, your job is to politely say, “That may be true, and I will be happy to talk about that as soon as we are done addressing this issue.” What you will be surprised to discover is that rarely, if ever, does the other person ever return to their subject, proving that it was a manipulative ploy designed to derail you and take the heat off them in one way or another.

Notice that some logical fallacies, like ad hominem, involve changing the subject to you, hoping you will get defensive and protect yourself, while others, like Straw Man, change the subject by reconfiguring the argument.

It is unrealistic to expect other people to be rational and logical; these are higher order skills that have to be learned and that generally are not necessary or rewarded at home, school or work. Recognize that in everyday life what is rewarded is agreeableness, compliance and efficiency, not logic or reason. Therefore, respect and honor the level of development of others while remaining vigilant. Just as with scripting, the Drama Triangle and emotional cognitive distortions, your responsibility is to get clear of your own logical filters and delusions so that you can deeply and respectfully listen to others.

Example Well, it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t…
Summary The simplest and easiest way to avoid responsibility, it is found in many logical fallacies.
Avoiding it Say, “That may be true, and I’ll be glad to address it as soon as we have dealt with…”

Ignoring Occam’s Razor

“There is a face on Mars, proving extraterrestrials exist.”

Later, more detailed satellite photography disclosed that what appeared to be a face was a completely natural formation that only appeared to be a face because of the particular shadow and lighting at the time the picture was taken. The problem with this statement, besides the fact that it had no evidence to support it, was that it was not the simplest explanation available that covered the known information. This is the principle of Occam’s Razor: When faced with more than one explanation for a situation, experience or phenomenon, favor the one that is simplest and still covers the available information. For example, deja vu experiences can be very convincing and synchronicities quite amazing. However, while these may indeed be psychic experiences, Occam’s Razor says that the most likely explanation is mental association of similar memories and coincidence. We tend to routinely underestimate some events, like the likelihood we will run into someone with the same birthdate or that whom we know when we are traveling, and routinely overestimate others, like “proving” that there is only a one in a million chance that something like Fukushima could happen.

The cure for ignoring Occam’s Razor is simply to ask, “Is this the simplest explanation available that covers all we know?”

Example Sunspots are caused by human wars and emotional disturbances.
Summary Occam’s Razor is the scientific principle that the simplest of any given hypothesis that covers available data is likely to be the correct one.
Avoiding it Ask, “Is this the simplest explanation to cover all the known facts?”

Weasel Words

Like weasels, weasel words are hard to catch. The problem is that you think you know what they mean, but your meaning is entirely different from that of the speaker. Examples of weasel words include spiritual, quantum, energy, scientific, statistically valid, love, patriotism, God, soul, freedom, democracy, and justice. For example, when George W. Bush said that he was going to invade Iraq to bring freedom and democracy, freedom meant submission to the US and democracy meant the installation of a government suitable to the US. Ken Wilber has shown that “spiritual” can refer to either a feeling, a state, a stage of development or a goal, like enlightenment. If one doesn’t carefully define what they mean the results will either be misleading, confusing or outright manipulative. You will think you the speaker means one definition when they mean another. Another example is “love.” How many people have been abused, divorced or killed in the name of love?
If you must use a word with multiple meanings that is also emotionally charged and often used to manipulate people, specify what you mean and don’t mean. When someone else uses a weasel word assume that you don’t know what they mean and enquire.

Other words that keep you stuck in emotional cognitive distortion

There are several words that will put you in the role of persecutor in the Drama Triangle, two of which we have discussed above, one or two that will put you into the role of victim, and one that will put you into the role of rescuer. These are to be learned and avoided, both in communication and your self-talk. For a full explanation of why each is to be avoided, see Words that Keep You Stuck in Drama.1

Persecutor role words and substitutions:

should > want/need to

ought > would be better if…

must/must not > want/ don’t want

fault > responsibility

blame > responsible

always > usually/mostly

never > infrequently/hardly ever

Victim role words and substitutions:

can’t > can/will/hope/believe/not sure

I don’t know > How can I find out?

But > and

Rescuer role words and substitutions:

need > want

Why don’t you.. > What are your options?

Two Advanced Logical Cognitive Distortions

The following two logical cognitive distortions, the pre-trans fallacy and the ranking fallacy, are “graduate level”, because they are more about failures in thinking about thinking. They are logical fallacies that support, but do not create, perceptual cognitive distortions.

The “Pre-Trans Fallacy”

Procrustes was a robber in Greek mythology. He would waylay travelers and tie them to his bed, which was a rack. If they were too short to fit it, he would stretch them on the rack until they did. If they were too long for his bed, he would “shorten” them until they fit. This is a metaphor that describes exactly what you do to your world when you use this cognitive distortion. First described by Ken Wilber in 1978 in The Atman Project, the pre-trans fallacy creates and validates grandiosity.

It does so by confusing early and late developmental stages in one of two ways. Either experiences associated which higher and expanded states of consciousness are confused with early ones in a fallacy called “reductionism,” or early developmental stages are confused with later ones in a fallacy called “elevationism.” In either case, the result is grandiosity. Reductionism occurs when you “reduce” experiences that transcend and include your experience to your level or to a previous, less developed levels, usually as immature delusions. For example, this occurs when near death or other mystical experiences are reduced to brain chemistry and psychotic hallucinations. Most 20th century scientists, from Freud to Skinner to Watson and Crick, commit this fallacy.

Reductionism is also a form of discounting. It cuts you off from your emerging potentials by assuming they are of no value or importance. An excellent example is the common assumption that dream characters are mere aspects of self or “day residue,” largely bizarre or insignificant reflections of mundane or trivial events. Reductionism aborts your development by blocking all the stairs that lead upward by claiming they actually lead downward, to the basement. When you use reductionism, you describe your experience in ways that makes growth past a certain point impossible. Use of drugs cannot open you up to emerging potentials; they can only confuse you and lead you toward decompensation and psychosis. The conflict between potentials that want to emerge and the truncated reality you insist on validates grandiosity because it confirms that your present level is the peak of human development.

Famous reductionists include Freud, who believed science and reason was the crowning achievement of humanity and therefore viewed mystical states as regressions to infantile forms of oneness and religion as a delusion; Descartes, who believed animals were machines; Richard Dawkins, who viewed life as an expression of genetic mechanisms; and Marx, who famously viewed religion as “the opium of the people.”

Elevationism, on the other hand, aborts development by substituting delusion for growth. Voodoo trances, childhood clairvoyance or lucid dreaming by children or criminals are taken to be indications of advanced development. “Intuition,” “spirit guides,” channeled messages, one’s “still small voice,” mystical and near death experiences or “feelings” are considered unquestionable sources of truth. To question them is often taken as a personal insult.

Why does this occur? Those who have had near death, psychic or mystical experiences know what they know. Such experiences are normally not only expansive but transformative. They may broaden one’s world view and move us to a much less self-centered, compassionate, accepting and peaceful approach to life. Who can argue with that?

Such experiences are openings into broader, more inclusive perspectives. These are normally temporary, transitory, and notoriously difficult to duplicate. As such they are states of greater potential or vision. These states are typically mistaken for the actual attainment of advanced developmental stages.

This occurs because of a variety of the fallacy of authority: because they had such a special experience, they must be special too. They must have some knowledge, some experience or some secret that I don’t. People go away from such experiences often convinced that they are special, that they have gotten the Holy Spirit, seen the Secrets of the Universe, spoken directly to God, or are now an enlightened master. If such a person is highly charismatic his conviction will inspire and sway others. This is the story of Saul of Tarsus and it is the story of Andrew Cohen, creator of “What is Enlightenment?” magazine and famous discredited cult leader.

If someone has had super-special experiences, you can easily be inspired, in awe, and conclude that they must be super special. Because they have accessed higher states, you assume that your teacher is enlightened. The same holds true for you. If you access one of these higher mystical or yogic states, like lucid dreaming, it is easy to conclude that you are, therefore, enlightened. This is called ego inflation or grandiosity. It is higher-order narcissism. If others become convinced by your certainty, passion and charisma and naively reach this same conclusion. This is the psychology behind the long history of belief in the apocalypse; followers suspend thinking and reason and simply believe. In fact, this has been a mainstream teaching within world religions for millennia. For example, St. Augustine famously said, “You are not required to understand in order to believe, but to believe in order to understand.” Because of this mutual delusion, those convinced of their enlightenment present themselves as someone who needs to be listened to as the enlightened conveyors of truth, rather than encouraging others to listen to their own life compasses. Consequently, they inflict their partial and unbalanced development on those who listen to them.

It is common for believers in integral, new age energy and quantum everything, positive thinking and miracles, to view science and those who insist on things making sense and who require “proof,” as reductionists. They tend to dismiss scientists and philosophers as “humanistic materialists” who do not believe in anything. They view themselves as much more enlightened and open-minded by comparison. In addition, they tend to see scientists and philosophers as selfish, unloving, rigid and close-minded in comparison to themselves. Paradoxically, they tend to claim that their own methods, generally “intuitive” and “heart-centered,” are scientific. They become easily seduced by people, methods and groups that use scientific jargon or claim to be founded on science, like neuro-linguistic programming, quantum anything and radionics. Beneath a superficial smugness, dismissal and superiority, a secret desire to possess the social status of scientists is implied.

Despite its reputation for being inspirational and progressive, elevationism is regressive. People who take the Bible as literal Truth and put creationism on the same level as evolution are elevationists. They are comfortable in their churches but find themselves out of their depth with scientists. However, this conundrum is deeper than religion and science. Scientists can be elevationists for various reasons. Telihard de Chardin was an anthropologist, Jesuit scholar and elevationist. Carl Jung was a medical doctor who saw psychic phenomena as openings into higher dimensions. There is much good in the thinking of both men, but elevationism holds out false hope. Religions, particularly their ecstatic and mystical branches, are elevationistic, as are mediums, channelers, gurus and most spiritual teachers. Integral philosophy, which takes the existence of transpersonal states accessible to children and criminals as proof of transpersonal stages, is elevationistic.

Elevationism boils down to irrational optimism. It is irrational because it lacks good reasons to support it and necessary proof. Anyone who bases their reality on their beliefs will find themselves out of their depth in a culture that is free to question and challenge all beliefs. Similarly, anyone who bases their reality on reason will find themselves out of their depth in a culture that is trans-rational, meaning that it thinks clearly but yet does not base its meaning and worth on logic or logical conclusions.

Reductionism and elevationism develop because pre-rational stages of development and post-rational stages of development are both non-rational, meaning that they are easily confused. Because people who are pre-rational or rational have read about mystical states or experienced them themselves, they think things that are psychic or miraculous are post-rational, when they can and do occur at any level of development.

While we normally think of elevation in the realm of religion and spirituality, far greater damage is done in the field of economics. While economists generally know nothing about the transpersonal and care even less, they are very concerned with making principled arguments that are posed as being for the betterment of all mankind. In such a way, they consider their motives to be reflective of the greatest good for the greatest number, which means that from their perspective, their economic theory is better than anything trans-rational, if such does exist, which they doubt. Marx’s vision of egalitarian society, idealistic in the extreme, was twisted and corrupted to validate massive oppression and brutalization. This is an example of the first variety of pre-trans fallacy, of reductionism, in which greedy and selfish people take a noble, uplifting ideal and use it to enslave masses. On the other hand, neo-liberalism, a conservative-libertarian form of capitalism, is an example of elevationism. It so elevates the ideal of prosperity, in the form of policies based on trickle-down and austerity, that it destroys entire economies, from Chile, to England, to the United States. In neo-liberalism, greedy and selfish people concoct seemingly rational, analytically sophisticated and principled reasons to rip off individuals and entire cultures. These people are neo-Darwinian plutocrats who care primarily for their own class and empathize only superficially, for purposes of publicity, with the needs or concerns of those who lack wealth and power. Their goal is to maximize profits by externalizing costs, which means having someone else, anyone else or nature, pay the price for their exploitation. As the noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith said, “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” From these two economic examples, we can see that the pre-trans fallacy has immense practical consequences, not only for human development, but also for the quality of everyday life. It determines whether people even have the luxury of the time to consider such issues.

An example closer to home commonly occurs when you know what your partner, children or co-workers are wanting as soon as they approach you. You don’t have to listen, because you have heard it all before. You believe you can tell them what they are going to say, so why listen? This is elevationism of your knowledge to the level of intuition, clairvoyance and principled wisdom. It might as well be transpersonal, because in your mind you know what they are saying and why they are saying it, and you already know what the answer is. Can you see how audaciously self-centered and disrespectful such a presumption is? It is also reductionist and discounting behavior, because you know that the other person will not present information that transcends and includes your understanding. Your certainty of your knowledge justifies your ignoring them, thinking about something else, cutting them off or smiling, nodding and summarily forgetting what they said. You think you are listening, but if you were asked to repeat what they said, could you? Most people will answer affirmatively, but when put to the test and actually required to paraphrase the gist of what someone said to them, most people hear about 30% accurately. IDL interviewing is designed to first interrupt and then eliminate this extremely common and arrogant habit. It does so by teaching a phenomenological method that involves suspending all such judgments in favor of practicing deep listening.

You can probably recognize ways that you are commonly a victim of reductionism and elevationism, but how about the pre-trans fallacy itself? You may be a victim of the elevationistic branch of this logical fallacy if you believe any of the following are signs of spiritual attainment or enlightenment:


psychic phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis or past life memories

lucid dreaming


visitations by deceased relatives or ascended masters


the ability to do psychic healing

near death experiences

out of the body experiences

nature, saintly or sage mysticism

claims of enlightenment

Any of these experiences can happen at any level of development. If you claim to have them or seek to develop them, first consider that such desires may be signs of personal inadequacy. You may be trying to compensate for some sort of emptiness by claiming exceptional abilities or attempting to develop them. Such elevationism can also be a sign of narcissism and grandiosity. While it may be due to none of these, it is wise to first rule out the above. How to do so? An IDL interview or two should bring a lot of clarity to exactly what’s going on.

On the other hand, if you automatically jump to the conclusion that any of these unusual and amazing experiences are always delusions concocted by ignorant or foolish people, you are ignorant and foolish yourself, a victim of the reductionist version of the pre-trans logical fallacy. Try reading something both scholarly and persuasive, like Michael Murphey’s The Future of the Body.

  • Reductionism: Near death or other mystical experiences reduced to brain chemistry and psychotic hallucinations.
  • Elevationism: Voodoo trances, childhood clairvoyance, or lucid dreaming, even it it is by children or criminals, is taken to be indications of advanced development.
  • Reductionism fallacy – confusing late development stages for early ones. Cuts us off from emerging potentials because it assumes they have no value. Creates depression & anxiety because of the conflict between the future you that wants to emerge, and the truncated reality you insist on holding on to. Validates grandiosity because it assumes current level of development is the peak of human experience.
  • Elevationism — aborts development by substituting delusion for growth; causes depression & anxiety because it is regressive.  Grandiose, in that it imagines that we are more evolved than we are, generally by confusing temporary state openings into the transpersonal with stable enlightenment.
Avoiding it Look for ways that you habitually do both.

The Ranking Fallacy

This logical fallacy carries the rather formidable name of “performative contradiction.” All that means is that you view ranking things as bad, because rankings discriminate. Performative contradictions are a type of ranking fallacy, the tendency of people at late personal level of development to hold everyone and everything equal in a communal, pluralistic, egalitarian embrace and to deplore any and all attempts to point out the reality of hierarchy, separateness, and distinction. The result is a mushy, fuzzy, glowing unity that has no clarity because there is no ability to recognize the facets of the diamond. Wilber points out that performative contradictions are logical fallacies, in that they declare all views are equal, except those that disagree with the proclamation that all are equal. In that instance, it imposes a hierarchy between egalitarians and non-egalitarians, thereby contradicting itself. This hierarchy is what makes a performative contradiction a ranking fallacy.

Ranking fallacies say one level or rank is better than another in some way, with the result being that some people lose out because of their race, income, language, intelligence, health, education, interests, habits or preferences. Social injustice is the result. Therefore, all hierarchies, which are forms of rankings, are viewed with suspicion and condescension. Examples of such ranking include believing whites are superior to blacks, those who major in the sciences or go into law or business are superior to those who study the arts, Eastern religions are superior to Western religions, private business is better than government services, Western capitalism is superior to traditional, non-property-based forms of social organization, primitive, matriarchal societies are superior to subsequent patriarchal ones, the wealthy are superior to the poor, the powerful are superior to the weak, animal lovers are better than scientists that experiment on bunnies and rats, vegetarians are better than meat eaters, Christianity or Judaism is superior to Islam, humans are superior to dolphins or monkeys or Eastern saints are superior to voodoo witch doctors. You may disagree with some of these rankings and agree with others, yet not commit this logical fallacy. You may even say, “Those who rank are judgmental and discounting” and not commit this logical fallacy. People who rank things may or may not be judgmental and discounting; that’s different from making discriminations. Unfortunately, “discriminate” means two things, to see and make distinctions, which is simply a function of language and reason, and to be judgmental and discounting. You can discriminate without being judgmental and discounting. You can rank and you can respect hierarchies without being judgmental and discounting.

However, this is a different issue from making a ranking fallacy. That occurs when you say, based on a desire for egalitarianism and pluralism, something like, “You are discriminating when you claim that humans are smarter than dolphins.” This is a ranking fallacy because you yourself are discriminating. You are saying, “It is better to not rank than to rank,” which means that you are discriminating against those who rank! There are legitimate reasons to object to people claiming that humans are smarter than dolphins, such as the fact that their intelligence is not comparable due to the fact that it is designed to deal with radically different environments. The problem arises when you object to hierarchies of any kind on grounds of egalitarianism and pluralism. Why? Because equality says, “ranking threatens equality; because pluralism says, “ranking disenfranchises some voices.” While this may be true, these statements are themselves rankings. You can say, “I think my rankings are better than yours” without committing this logical fallacy. The problem occurs when you condemn ranking when you are doing so yourself. To commit a ranking fallacy you must say, “This person who ranks in such and such a way is discriminating,” while at the same time not recognizing that you are yourself discriminating between those who rank and those who do not. You yourself are ranking but not realizing it. You have just created a hierarchy or a distinction, between those who do not rank and those who do, between good and bad or between the “washed and the unwashed,” without realizing it. You have just contradicted yourself by saying, “Your ranking is bad, because it discriminates, but my ranking is good and doesn’t discriminate,” when you are ranking and, therefore discriminating, yourself.

This logical fallacy is important because it ranks heterogeneity or communalism, among societies, species, abilities or capabilities above hierarchy or meritocracy. It wants to validate everybody and everything, without exception, except for those who find such distinctions to be valuable. Those who value hierarchies are to be discounted and discriminated against. So, we need to picket animal experimentation, patriarchal bastions, meat eaters, the rich and the powerful. It is not politically correct to point out that astrology is pre-scientific, that monkeys lack human intelligence, that conservatives are relatively self-centered when compared to liberals or that shamanism does not rise to the level of say, Buddhism. The problem is that hierarchy exists, and that value distinctions are not only real, but important. Nature evolves in hierarchies of sophistication and capabilities. The more complicated levels evolve out of the less complicated ones and sustain themselves by incorporating the less complicated into themselves. Those with evolutionary advantages have more offspring and survive longer.

When this understanding is turned into the religion of neo-Darwinism, it is used to justify inequality and selfishness, which is generally the sin that gives rise to the current use of this logical fallacy. In reaction, people put egalitarianism and pluralism before common sense, rational discrimination and meaningful distinctions of value, leading to self-created absurdities. The spirit of justice breaks down somewhere for almost everyone. We won’t kill shrimp, but how about mosquitos and fleas? Taken to a logical extreme, you need to become a Parsee, spending your life sweeping the ground in front of you to avoid the injustice of accidentally stepping on a living creature. However, since we know that doing so is unavoidable, to be consistent, we need to stop breathing. We need to die if we want to respect all life, because our mere existence is sustained by incorporating lesser developed life forms into our own. There is no escaping that reality, nor should one try. You can learn to respect and protect all life and still respect and protect the knowledge that ranking is real and that hierarchies exist for the furtherance of the evolution of consciousness.

Humans and life itself evolve in both heterogenous, communal and hierarchical, discriminatory ways. The unwillingness to accept this is a reflection of a deficit in an important developmental skill: the ability to hold and balance two or more conflicting and contradictory perspectives, opinions, preferences or beliefs at the same time, yet remaining willing and able to choose among them. Instead of being confused or blocked by ambiguity, you can learn to welcome it and use your mind to sort through information to focus on what is most important for the task at hand. Children do not know how to do this. Adults do not automatically learn this higher order competency, unless they have been exposed to someone who insists on it, teaches them why it is important, as well as how to use it. You will notice that your interviewed emerging potentials are generally more evolved than you are, when they score higher than you in the six core qualities. They make discriminations. They are discriminating. At the same time, they embrace egalitarianism and pluralism. They can and will teach you to honor both ranking and justice.

Example “All those that don’t discriminate are good; but the fact that I discriminate between those who discriminate and those who don’t does not make me bad.”
Summary In the example you are saying” it is better not to rank, than to rank,” which means that you are discriminating against those who rank.

The problem occurs when you condemn ranking, at the same time as you are doing it yourself.

The problem is that hierarchy exists, and that value distinctions are not only real, but important. 

Avoiding it Recognize the need for both; realize hierarchy and community co-exist harmoniously in nature.

1 http://www.dreamyoga.com/words-that-keep-you-stuck-in-drama

Posted in Essays, Logical Cognitive Distortions



From Chapter 7, Getting Rid of Your Logical Cognitive Distortions, Waking Up

Dogmatism is one of the most basic and primitive of logical fallacies because it doesn’t even pretend to be rational. The speaker is so sure of his or her certainty and truth that it is offensive and beneath them to even appeal to rationality. There is an obvious and evident disdain for logic, reason and causation because they are beneath the level of trans-rational truth that the speaker discloses.

This form of irrationality remains remarkably prevalent and current in an increasingly skeptical world that expects proof, reasons and knows how to fact-check. The reason why is still so widely used is because dogmatism cannot be refuted since it never claims to be rational or logical in the first place.

Anything that validates or justifies itself on the basis of some metaphysical reality or entity, like God, or some faculty that cannot be measured, such as intuition, a hunch, luck, fate, the heart, psychism or spirituality, takes upon itself the burden of proof to show how and why it is not dogmatic.

A simple way to determine if a statement is dogmatic is by observing the response to any request for proof or validation. It will typically be an appeal to the authority of one’s own “inner voice,” to God, a psychic, or to scripture, all sources which are themselves dogmatic, in that they do not base their truth on reason or logic. If the validity of these sources is questioned, the response is generally a form of anger, indicating a sense of violation and personalization, a fundamental emotional cognitive distortion.

The reason why Integral Deep Listening (IDL) teaches logical fallacies is because thinking rationally is a pre-requisite to development beyond the rational. Trans-rational development transcends and includes the rational, which means that learning how to think straight and recognize when others aren’t, is a “gateway drug” to stable higher levels of development.

Posted in Logical Cognitive Distortions