Brad Banton – TRANSCRIPT
OK, so what about honesty? What would it be for you, just among your friends to change the degree of honesty? What if you’re just honest all the time, with everyone that you know? People that you already know, and you weren’t too worried about being tactful, or diplomatic you just said whatever you thought, like a kid, like a child. What do you think it would do to your relationships? What would be different if you were radically honest?
There’s a story of a woman who interviewed for a job, and her potential boss asked her a question in the interview: What do you consider to be your worst fault? She said, “Honesty.”
He said, “I don’t think honesty’s a fault.”
And she said, “I don’t give a fuck what you think.”
I really like that joke. I think, would you hire her if you were the boss? I would. I would want someone that I could depend on not to cater to me. That I could rely on to handle things and be honest.
There is this problem about being honest, about what’s going through your mind, and the problem is that we have three minds. We have at least three minds, and we’ve been taught all of our lives that our mind is a very valuable thing, and that thinking is the most important thing. I don’t think that’s right. Our first mind is called the reactive mind and that’s basically we are a recording device, we’ve been recording multisensory recordings of what happens to us since we were in the womb.
We didn’t have vision in there but we have these multisensory recordings of successive moments of now. We have them filed in a somewhat orderly fashion, some of them weren’t recorded too well, some of them were a little off but they still are built into us, we have these records of things we’ve experienced. They’re not just sight and sound, they’re tasty, touchy, feely, smelly proprioceptive recordings. So that’s one mind, that’s called the reactive mind.
And that’s because whenever something was recorded it had a little bit of trauma in it or some shock or something like that, that got recorded with it. Then every now and then those things just kind of pop up later on in your life. So that’s the reactive mind.
The next mind is called the personal construct mind. That’s based on replicated experiences. We have this experience of something over and over again. Say the baby has the experience of nursing, and then not nursing, and then nursing and not nursing, and after a while, after many, many repetitions of this, a little construct begins in the mind of the baby: nursing time and not nursing time.
Then the baby cries when it wants nursing and gets nursed, and after a while that gets in there, and she starts operating on the construct: nursing, wanting nursing, crying, and then getting nursed. It works just fine except when she wants nursing, and she cries, and she doesn’t get it, she gets really really pissed off. We have all these little things in there, of expectations associated with constructs that we built in our minds. That’s what we call the personal construct mind.
Then we have the categorical mind, or the planning mind, the linear mind, the one we usually think of as our mind. It’s mostly verbal skills and has to do with having definitions of things and points to objects and ideas; the mind the way we think of it. The problem is that these three minds turn on and off more or less at random, and they’re not very accurate. In fact, there is a section of one of my books, titled — it’s a take-off on the advertisement from the American Negro College Fund, they say, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” – and my book says a mind is a terrible thing wasted. These minds are very unreliable instruments, and one of the things that makes them unreliable is that they tend to get mixed up, they confuse each other. Like our categorical mind likes to take responsibility for things that just popped into our head.
We think it’s basically just used to rationalize the impulse that came from the reactive mind. So then what are we to do? Well, a New Yorker was stopped by a tourist and said, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” She said, “Practice, practice, practice.” Practice is what we need, and what you need to do is practice knowing the difference between noticing and thinking. Knowing the difference between noticing and thinking and in a new context that is you’ve been taught that thinking was the most important thing your whole life – that’s wrong – noticing is much more important than thinking. Thinking is an unreliable mess.
We have three minds and all of them are screwed up, and they’re interfering with each other and the reactive mind is always trying to come up with things, and the construct mind came up with an idea that wasn’t accurate in the first place, and now it’s forgotten about half way, and it interferes with the linear mind, and we all try to take credit for the ideas that come to us, but basically, we didn’t come up with them, they just jumped out of our mind.
So basically, the mind is not a very reliable thing. In order to get some clarity, we need each other, because my faulty mind needs to have a report delivered to your faulty mind and we have to be able to talk about it, which means, if we’re not honest, we’ll just be even more fucked up than we already are. So what we’re after is some kind of clarity, what we’re after is something called co-hearted co-intelligence, and I’ll get to that in the end.
So what are we to practice? We practice distinguishing between noticing and thinking. Now, stick with me here, with a whole awareness continuum, everything we can possibly be aware of can be divided easily into three parts. You can be aware of what’s going on outside of you right now, I could be aware of you, you could be aware of me, right now. That’s one aspect of the awareness continuum.
The second aspect is you can be aware of what’s going on within the confines of your own skin right now in your body – sensations: heat, cold, tingling, tension, warmth – where they are in your body, you can be aware of that.
The third aspect is you can be aware of what’s going through your mind, right now. All of these awarenesses are right now. That’s all there is, I call it inside, outside, upside down. After my favorite children’s book. So you can notice what’s going on in your body, you can notice what’s going on outside of you and you can notice what’s going through your mind right now. The only problem is if you actually say to the voices in your mind, “OK, go ahead, I’m listening,” all of a sudden, your mind doesn’t know whether to shit or go blind.