We’re so convinced of sovereignty of our own person that we truly believe we make (most of) our decision on our own and out of free will, that the surroundings are not important and act more as a background for action and not its agent, that we cannot be influenced by the subliminal trickery of the real in that “mind over matter” vibe. To not be influenced by them takes a lot of dedicated practice and even than it is not fully possible. We’re far stranger than we understand and far less able to deter various sensory inputs processed below the surface of the conscious mind we refer to as “me”. So much of that “me” is buried that the tip of the iceberg analogy would be laughable. Check this out (as presented by Stanford biology professor Robert Sapolsky).

If you put a pair of vigilant judgmental eyes on a billboard at a bus stop people litter less. If you flash them subliminally for less than a tenth of second (below conscious detection) in a videogame people don’t cheat. If people eat something disgusting and have a bad aftertaste in their mouth and you ask them their opinion on some moral or legal issues, they will express more conservative moral stances and demand stricter punishments. Judging someone’s personality has a lot to do with the chair you’re sitting in. Assessing how opened or rigid, agreeable or disagreeable someone is depends literally on how soft the spot you put your butt in is – you will judge the character or credentials of others by your current level of comfort. So if you were for example assessing job applicants sitting in a hard wooden chair you would judge them rigid and inflexible, while you would be much more lenient to who goes into the next circle if you were reading them planted on a soft cushiony sofa. If you were to fill out a questionnaire in a room with a smelly garbage you would become more readier to condemn certain behaviors and stances. You put up your boundaries higher to protect yourself from the disgust you feel from the smell. The best predictor to weather a judge would parole someone is not the case, the evidence, the competence of a lawyer or the plea of the defendant but how many hours has it been since the judge has had his/her last meal. If you were to see the judge when he’s hungry the chance of getting patrolled is almost zero, were you the first case after lunch your chances jump to 60%. When starved the frontal cortex doesn’t function well enough to be able to force you to do the hard thing (as we’ve mentioned in one of the previous posts) and putting yourself into someone else’s circumstance is hard. For a frontal cortex low on blood sugar it’s easier to short hand it and just weigh the thing thoroughly so it could force the human it’s operating to go and get something to eat as soon s possible and the decision is completely unconscious.

We’re not our own, we’re of this world and every single thing in it affects us. Our body got its senses as an interface to relate to and navigate reality but we are at their mercy. Not a singular entity making its own decisions but a scaffolding, loosely held together by our stories and structures, overarching the precipice of things that govern us and are beyond conscious control. Set up your day so that your circumstances are somewhat regulated and controlled to be better able to pull out the best of you and not fall prey to the trick of senses.