One of the pleasures I have customarily acquainted myself with is writing down my thoughts, feelings, studies, research, and perceptions about the world. Being a fan of journal writing for some time, I have realized it has allowed me to assiduously concentrate on my subject and therefore crystallize my thoughts for a deeper understanding, one that allows me to go back, rethink, and even update my perspective upon further analysis.
The problem with self analysis is usually the ego, a faulty self- perception, or in the process of introspection that has been debated over its reliability as taken out of this Wikipedia excerpt….
Introspection, as the term is used in contemporary philosophy of mind, is a means of learning about one’s own currently ongoing, or perhaps very recently past, mental states or processes. You can, of course, learn about your own mind in the same way you learn about others’ minds—by reading psychology texts, by observing facial expressions (in a mirror), by examining readouts of brain activity, by noting patterns of past behavior—but it’s generally thought that you can also learn about your mind introspectively, in a way that no one else can. But what exactly is introspection? No simple characterization is widely accepted. Although introspection must be a process that yields knowledge only of one’s own current mental states, more than one type of process fits this characterization.
Introspection is a key concept in epistemology, since introspective knowledge is often thought to be particularly secure, maybe even immune to skeptical doubt. Introspective knowledge is also often held to be more immediate or direct than sensory knowledge. Both of these putative features of introspection have been cited in support of the idea that introspective knowledge can serve as a ground or foundation for other sorts of knowledge.
Introspection is also central to philosophy of mind, both as a process worth study in its own right and as a court of appeal for other claims about the mind. Philosophers of mind offer a variety of theories of the nature of introspection; and philosophical claims about consciousness, emotion, free will, personal identity, thought, belief, imagery, perception, and other mental phenomena are often thought to have introspective consequences or to be susceptible to introspective verification. For similar reasons, empirical psychologists too have discussed the accuracy of introspective judgments and the role of introspection in the science of the mind.
Already in the 18th century authors had criticized the use of introspection, both for knowing one’s own mind and as a method for psychology. David Hume pointed out that introspecting a mental state tends to alter the very state itself; a German author, Christian Gottfried Schütz, noted that introspection is often described as mere “inner sensation”, but actually requires also attention, that introspection does not get at unconscious mental states, and that it cannot be used naively – one needs to know what to look for. Immanuel Kant added that, if they are understood too narrowly, introspective experiments are impossible. Introspection delivers, at best, hints about what goes on in the mind; it does not suffice to justify knowledge claims about the mind. Similarly, the idea continued to be discussed between John Stuart Mill and August Comte. Recent psychological research on cognition and attribution has asked people to report on their mental processes, for instance to say why they made a particular choice or how they arrived at a judgment. In some situations, these reports are clearly confabulated. For example, people justify choices they have not in fact made. Such results undermine the idea that those verbal reports are based on direct introspective access to mental content. Instead, judgements about one’s own mind seem to be inferences from overt behavior, similar to judgements made about another person. However, it is hard to assess whether these results only apply to unusual experimental situations, or if they reveal something about everyday introspection. The theory of the adaptive unconscious suggests that a very large proportion of mental processes, even “high-level” processes like goal-setting and decision-making, are inaccessible to introspection. Indeed, it is questionable how confident researchers can be in their own introspections.
One of the central implications of dissociations between consciousness and meta-consciousness is that individuals, presumably including researchers, can misrepresent their experiences to themselves. Jack and Roepstorff assert, ‘…there is also a sense in which subjects simply cannot be wrong about their own experiential states.’ Presumably they arrived at this conclusion by drawing on the seemingly self-evident quality of their own introspections, and assumed that it must equally apply to others. However, when we consider research on the topic, this conclusion seems less self-evident. If, for example, extensive introspection can cause people to make decisions that they later regret , then one very reasonable possibility is that the introspection caused them to ‘lose touch with their feelings’. In short, empirical studies suggest that people can fail to appraise adequately (i.e. are wrong about) their own experiential states.
Another question in regards to the veracious accountability of introspection is if researchers lack the confidence in their own introspections and those of their participants, then how can it gain legitimacy? Three strategies are accountable: identifying behaviors that establish credibility, finding common ground that enables mutual understanding, and developing a trust that allows one to know when to give the benefit of the doubt. That is to say, that words are only meaningful if validated by one’s actions; When people report strategies, feelings or beliefs, their behaviors must correspond with these statements if they are to be believed.
Even when their introspections are uninformative, people still give confident descriptions of their mental processes, being “unaware of their unawareness”. This phenomenon has been termed the introspection illusion and has been used to explain some cognitive biases and belief in some paranormal phenomena. When making judgements about themselves, subjects treat their own introspections as reliable, whereas they judge other people based on their behavior. This can lead to illusions of superiority. For example, people generally see themselves as less conformist than others, and this seems to be because they do not introspect any urge to conform. Another reliable finding is that people generally see themselves as less biased than everyone else, because they are not likely to introspect any biased thought processes. These introspections are misleading, however, because biases work sub-consciously.
These fail to mention the contributions made in the field of philosophy of language by Ludwig Wittgenstein, W.V. Quine, Linguist Noam Chomsky, and the early 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard insisted that language ought to play a larger role in Western philosophy. He argues that philosophy has not sufficiently focused on the role language plays in cognition and that future philosophy ought to proceed with a conscious focus on language: “If the claim of philosophers to be unbiased were all it pretends to be, it would also have to take account of language and its whole significance in relation to speculative philosophy … Language is partly something originally given, partly that which develops freely. And just as the individual can never reach the point at which he becomes absolutely independent … so too with language.” Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). In Cloeren, H. Language and Thought. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988
The reader must please excuse the author from all of this background digression on my simple post on the joys of writing, specifically upon the view of looking inward, but I presume it’s just a part of my nature… ask me what time it is; I’ll tell you how to build a clock.
I reread much of some of my past journals these last few days.
I have written about my health good and bad, my ideas and thoughts, my relationships, financial and economic burdens I’ve faced, my habits good and bad, my family thoughts and relations, my coping skills, my music and movie preferences, my childhood memories, my research on philosophy / psychology of life, my political ideas, and pretty much anything I was interested in at the moment I was writing.
I see patterns throughout the many years I have put pen to paper. Some good and some bad. The over examination and possibly the under achievements that I may have capitalized on more had my discipline been better, despite the monumental achievements made when I was in my prime and working and going to SDSU.
I guess it’s never too late. Just need to figure out what the hell I’m gonna do!
My nemesis! Not knowing or able to dream the dream of my deepest wish. I don’t think I’ve soured that much to be able to figure it out, but I just might need some help in doing so. Maybe some good counseling sessions will do me good if I’m able to break through the choice in good counselors.
Getting myself on the right path is a start.
My sacrifice for letting the wrong side controlling my inner and outer affairs. Should have seen this coming, or if I did, should have been better able to combat its tyranny over my soul! Get back to the old self. Get back to the ever-lovin’ need to excel beyond my own capabilities and self-actualize into a better person.
I’ve let the core me enslaved by the weaker ruling entanglements of myself which only pretend to be a source for treating a hurtful soul. A lie that continues to deplete my inner resources and keeps me captive in my own self-imposed hell. You’d think I’d learn by now.
Working my life in an industry that is not rewarding for my creative desires was not the best decision I’ve made. I think I’ve let too many influences distract me into a less optimal mindset. Some of those influences I take full responsibility for since they germinated from within my mind. The origins of frustration, dissatisfaction and improper focus of my abilities which has in essence dulled my senses and motivation to move out from under the trappings of such ideas. At a younger age I was full of wanting to know, wanting to learn and becoming someone of admirable fortitude and perseverance to excel. This motivation was later discovered by the inner rage of wanting to escape a very emotionally and intellectually impoverished family upbringing.
I was truly on my way, but at some point I stopped advancing, and for reasons not yet completely known, I began to listen to an inner self that took me away from some of my most cherished goals. No sound advise was ever given to me by practically anyone other than some of the books I’ve read, or some of those things you hear from your school mates that you take it or leave it if you believe what they say. The dissemination’s of those suggesting that they have some ego-related pearls of wisdom about their encounters with the opposite sex were tossed around constantly from time to time through-out my adolescent and young adult life as well, but fragments of these would only be taken for any of its passing value. Nay, not many mentions of others actually helped me in my dealing with the opposite sex during my early maturation. I think my own experiences and observations provided me with the only information I had to go on, and painfully learn from, though I must admit many very good lessons are now with me.
I pride myself in not becoming what many of my peers had succumbed to in their plights of passage. I’m no prude, but I can at least say I am over-all very happy with my treatment of such matters. I do have a few exceptions, that I have learned from, and will hopefully not ever repeat again. I have some painful lessons learned that I can rely on again to help me never stray away from my true self image and demeanor towards those I may see. The judgment part in situations of the relationship is often or sometimes so elusive and difficult to see clearly on just what is going on. Especially when our emotional/psychological factors intervene and at times are simply incorrect or not reliable. I fear this to be a problem, but like any problem, solutions have made themselves avail to those who look clearly.
Oh those old lessons learned from your past, gotta love em.