Priming, Framing, Transcending & Enjoying

framing-psychology

There’s a battle going on. It happens in your brain. Do not be alarmed. It only affects every decision you’ve ever made and will ever make. It only affects your health, wealth and opinion and how you think and behave. No biggie.

icebergThe battle goes on beneath the surface of consciousness. That’s why you sometimes say, “Why did I do that? Did I say that? That wasn’t me.” Like everybody, you’re under a misconception. You think you know what influences you and how those influences affect you.

Freud (1915) described the conscious mind as the tip of the iceberg because a lot goes on beneath the surface (source). We can like or dislike something instantly without knowing why.

It goes like this (cue music: Ulf Söderberg “Tide” part 1).

chickenfreudpartyFirst you have a feeling, then you make up something to explain that feeling. The explanation becomes a label. The label is declared true. It influences you. You become a self-fulfilling prophecy primed by what you do.

Think badly and badly you become.

You’re framed by spin.

In You Are Not So Smart (2011) David McRaney wrote, “You move through life forming opinions and cobbling together a story about who you are… taken as a whole it seems real” (p. xi).

you-are-not-so-smartBut it isn’t.

It’s how you look at it. Out of the randomness of life you try to make sense and create meaning for yourself (McRaney, 2011). It’s what humans do. We interpret reality. We look at stars and see constellations. We see patterns in bullet holes on country signs.

With facial suggestions, we are “uniquely wired” to see faces in breakfast (source).

jesus-on-toast
Jesus on toast.

We connect the dots of what goes on by combining expectations (what we think will happen) with mental models (how we think something works) and five senses (source: Myth or Science?).

act-naturally
See: “Act Naturally,” 1963

With confidence you see your history like a movie with characters, plots, themes and settings. You see yourself as a protagonist, but it’s a beautiful confabulation. The truth is: You make yourself up as you go. You’re a work in progress and like Buck Owens and a Buckaroo think, “All I gotta do is act naturally.” 

You are the tale you tell. It’s “The Story of Me!” as told by you. Memories are daydreams: part true, part fantasy, but you believe them completely.

Look at your surroundings. Set your mind “Open!” Realize that what matters most is to enjoy the significance of existence by loving the life you are given and giving the life you are living.

sunset on melting snow.jpgThere’s nothing you must do. There’s no mountain you must climb. Success and failure don’t matter. Just contentment. Contentment is not death! Contentment is bliss! In dictionaries contentment and happiness are interchangeable.

loser-stampIt’s all in how you frame it. What’s your spin on things? How do you see yourself? Is life bliss-filled or disasterous? You decide. You choose. It’s simple really. Nothing to it. Live a pleasant life by living wisely, justly and well (Epicurus). And yet, living a pleasant life can be difficult when you’re with a species hell-bent on making the earth a landfill.

How is it that humans are such brilliant numbskulls (or is it boneheads)?

numbskull-boneheadIn 1982 when Alice Cooper (aka Vinnie Furnier) sang, “We’re all clones. All are one and one are all” (“Clones”) he anticipated a people without individuality singsonging, “No more problems on the way!” 

It’s not a new idea. People have always cloned around. In 1802 Willy Wordsworth put it this way:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; –
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

landfill

Why have humans declared war on nature? Is it because we construct reality and meaning within our minds? Is it because we have a bias towards confirming ourselves? Is it because we have a bias towards the present? What is it? The news is not good.

Is it any wonder so many want a new drug like Huey Lewis did?

Here we come to the crux of the matter. The trick to enjoying in the midst of humanity’s idiocy is in framing, priming and transcending.

larry-davidFraming is a bias towards a given choice depending how it’s presented. It’s how the cover of a book influences your judgement. Framing moves you to react in certain ways based on how your brain makes comparisons between loss/gain, good/bad, half-full/half-empty. In framing you decide what’s important.

Framing is how you find patterns in chaos to survive and create meaning out of meaninglessness. The way you choose to frame things determines how you see.

Amelie-Bridge-End
See: Amelie frames and primes les petits plaisirs (the little pleasures).

Priming happens when subtle triggers influence your behavior without your awareness (Gladwell, 2006). Almost everything you perceive with your senses can blitz you with associations in your mind and cause you to act in certain ways without your awareness.

For example, if asked to name a fruit and you see the word “RED,” you’re more likely to think “apple” than “banana.” The word “RED” is priming the word “apple” into your brain.

magritte
Detail of  René Magritte’s “Son of Man” (1964).

René Magritte painted a self-portrait with his face behind a green apple and said, “Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see” (source). Maybe that’s why we don’t see what’s in front of us. We’re looking for something hidden.

beacon-of-beauty

Priming works best when not over thinking. You know you’re priming when time disappears. The trick is to let human bumbling cruelty prime you for transcendence by framing it differently. Frame it: They don’t know what they’re doing! They’re doing the best they can. Frame yourself freedom and then see beauty in a dump.

kite“Transcend” comes from Latin trans-, meaning “beyond,” and scandare, meaning “to climb” (source). It’s simple: to transcend is to climb beyond your usual physical needs and realities.

Prime yourself aware! Create meaning! Climb beyond ordinary feeling. Transcend transcendence by enjoying.

References:

Glandwell, M. (2006). Blink. Little Brown & Company.
McRaney, D. (2011). You Are Not So Smart. Gotham Books.

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Levels of Enjoyment & the Art of Magic Creation

rabbit in clouds
It’s the way you see it.

‘Good, Better, Best!’ and ‘Bad, worse, worst!’ From one to five (or ten) – with one being bad – people rate almost everything. From wine to pickles and designer gowns and governmental pickles, from pop songs to vacuums and the way the body jiggles (either positively or negatively so), we find fault or give praise.

It’s all about what we enjoy, how much and how little.

As human judging beings, we form opinions waffling between like and dislike based on past experience, knee-jerk reactions, current mood, time of day and wind direction.

waffles
We waffle between like and dislike.

What we enjoy says who we want to be. We say, “I like this!” and “I don’t like that!” to solidify our perpetuation. We filter reality through opinion to create the idea of ourselves as a personality with identifiers self-fulfilled.

This is the art of person creation. For example: One Sunday you may decide to be a waffle-liking person, “These waffles are fantastic!” or a non-waffle-liking person, “Do you have pancakes?

heisenberg
Not Heisenberg.

Compounds of personality are formed by the chemical reaction of what we choose to enjoy. We become a habit to ourselves. We compare ourselves to other people. For example: Surrealist painter Salvador Dali one day decided to like Dr. Werner Heisenberg. Dali said. “I, who previously only admired Dalí, will now start to admire that Heisenberg who resembles me.”

And so it goes.

Dali
“The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.” Salvador Dali

Some opinions become habitual. Example: As a child you decide that you don’t like onions. As an adult, you continue that notion. A dislike becomes ingrained through repeated action (onion avoidance) and memory (Mother hated onions and she hated cats too).

And so it’s true. We make it so. We tell ourselves who we are based on favour and aversion.

Like books judged by covers, we make snap judgments then confabulate reasons why. We fill gaps of information with fabrications that become facts we believe.

alan
What Alan likes.

Example: “You don’t like Alan?” “No.” “Why?” “I knew an Alan once. I didn’t like him.” “You don’t like Alan because of an Alan you once knew?” “That’s right. I don’t like Alan because of Alan association.”

Gradually we become the person we say we are or we fool ourselves into believing the lies we tell.

business dollsWe assess, ruminate, and constipate ourselves through an on-going series of judgments formed on whims of preference.

But when it comes to a philosophy of enjoyment, there are no levels. You enjoy it all and when you don’t, you wait it out. You enjoy in anticipation of a change in condition.

In the movie Amélie (2001) or as it’s known in French, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, the hidden personality of characters is revealed in the little things they like and dislike.

Amélie, for example, as shown in this movie scene, cultivates a taste for small pleasures like “dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking créme brulée with a teaspoon, and skipping stones” in a canal.

Amelie-Bridge-End
Amélie skipping stones.

Amélie’s father, Raphael, dislikes, “peeing next to someone else, catching scornful glances at his sandals, clingy wet swimming trunks” and he likes “peeling large strips of wallpaper, lining up and shining his shoes” and cleaning his toolbox.

This process of liking and disliking is all part of the art of self creating.

socks-and-sandals-585736As a philosopher of enjoyment you can enjoy pleasing moments while wearing socks in sandals.

(1) Notice how people create personality, (2) cultivate small pleasures, (3) like Amélie or like Roberto Benigni’s character in this scene in Life is Beautiful, lose yourself in the enjoyment and love of creating a miracle for another person and, in so doing, create your own.

It’s like a big lost and found. Get lost in creating magic found by another.

butterflyOne can be blown away by the beauty of birds, butterflies, people and trees but such things are meaningless (without meaning) without taking it all in with attention and a spirit of love for love and enjoyment are one and the same thing.

When you do something with love, no matter how small, you disappear into it all. You are gone in a moment of unprecedented yearning and attention.

hand with stone smallThere is nowhere you need to be. Nothing you have to have. Enjoyment is about becoming a verb. Become a vision of immortally conceived like the first bird to carry its seed. The spirit of love is like underwear beneath your clothes. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there.

It’s the same as skipping stones. Why do people skip stones? For fun. For the enjoyment of launching a stone and watching what happens.

skipping stones2

Skipping stones leave multiple plop points. Like a skipping stone you are a plop point (in a good way!). You too ripple outward. Play the song “Pas si simple” and disappear in miracle making.

Enjoy.