Spring clean your mind

It is time to spring clean your mind. I believe that we have a duty to use our lives and minds for the better. That we are here to make at least a little bit of the world a better place. We will not be able to be innovative and creative if let our minds be blocked by prejudice, inefficient thinking or incorrect and alternative facts. We are under attack from bad memes.

A fork in the road

We have reached a fork in the road. One way is paved with alternative facts and prejudice. It leads to stagnation. If we choose this path our “engines” will be powered by fear. The other road is paved with with truth and kindness. The other road leads to creativity, innovation and growth.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is an example of what happens if you do not spring clean your mind. The ugliness becomes so important that it takes physical shape.Source: Chicago : National Prtg. & Engr. Co. Modifications by Papa Lima Whiskey - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g08267 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY SA 3.0

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is an example of what happens if you do not spring clean your mind. The ugliness becomes so important that it takes physical shape.

We are being mindfucked at an industrial scale. Twentieth century propaganda was an imperfect art. It had, necessarily, a need for backup by secret police, Gulags and disappearances. Propaganda today is a science backed up by big data. Every message is calculated to have a specific effect on you. We are in the middle of an infowar and we are not winning.

There is also a small scale infowar going on. There are people who try to pass off patently false concepts as “the new black”. They write books, give courses and lectures. I am amazed that people buy into them but you have seen that these pseudo-scams works, haven’t you? There are people around us who try to give us ideas that are not good for us. They will do what they can to convince you that you should feel worthless and so on.

Spring clean the mind

If we are to be good, creative, innovative and kind people we need to defend the santicity of our minds. Taking shortcuts, thinking fast is intrinsic to our natures as human but that does not mean that we should accept it. It does not matter if the attack is on a small, medium or large scale. Here are some things we can do to keep that grey matter from turning darker:

  • Learn more about logic so that you can learn to recognize when people try to use logical fallacies against you. But do it humbly, remember the fallacy fallacy – that even a poorly construed argument can have a valid conclusion – even a blind hen can find a seed.
  • Learn to recognize how people use archetypes and myths as the basis of a narrative intended to influence you on a primal level. People will try to build their narrative in a way that resonates with your preconceptions about the world. Many of those come from our common cultural heritage and the stories we learned as children.
  • Join the discussion with people of differing views. Your perspective valuable and so is theirs. Our minds need excercise just as much as our bodies. Sparring with other people allows you to hone your ideas, even to replace them.

Manage your attention

Manage your attention. There are so many things vying for your attention. Once you have learned to recognize ideas and memes that are problematic you can start to learn how to find the good ones and avoid the bad ones.

  • People around you, people on social media, regular media all want your attention but you can only fully give it in one place at a time. Use methods like Pomodoro to focus on one thing at a time. It is not only people who want your attention.
  • Ideas also want your attention. Some of them are good for you. They will enrich you and make you a better person. Many ideas are not good. Some ideas, concepts and memes help you. Focus your attenion on those. Ideas, or call them memes, are viral. They spread through interactions.

Spring clean your mind in the best way

The best way to spring clean your mind is to fill the capacity in your brain with good ideas and concepts so that there is no room for the bad ones. For instance, altruism might not make sense in terms of genes, but it does make sense in terms of memes.

What is innovation anyway, except taking a good idea and using it make things better?

Part of a series

This blog post is part of a conversation on Innovation between myself and Gene Hughson. This post has been about the sources of fear while Gene’s latest post was on the problems of fear. I find it hard to be creative and innovative if I am more tuned to lies than to reality.

About Greger Wikstrand

Greger Wikstrand, Ph.D. M.Sc. is a TOGAF 9 certified enterprise architect with an interest in e-heatlh, m-health and all things agile as well as processes, methods and tools. Greger Wikstrand works as a consultant at Capgemini where he alternates between enterprise agile coaching, problem solving and designing large scale e-health services ...


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  2. Altruism do indeed make sense for the genes. I believe you have an understanding of the United of evolution that is to narrow. The United is not The individual, but the person, the family or even the whole clan the human live in. For us, the clan is of course the whole planet.

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