Thinking Not Conditioning
Updated: Jun 17
Thinking not Conditioning.
Hey Humans, peace to all even politicians and bankers. The subject that I’m going to paint for you today is one I hold dear to my heart, Critical thinking in children, not only children, everyone. My curiosity was originally sparked from reading only one paragraph of a book I found in a charity shop, (A thrift shop to my bro’s and sisters over there in the U.S) titled Psychology fifth edition. I skimmed through the book, I then delved into Chapter 4: Learning. Oh my, it grabbed my attention! I’m going to start with a quick break down of the chapter, to help follow my thought process. Bear with me, I even find it difficult to follow sometimes. The first subcategory, Habituation. Straight forward stuff, it’s the process of animals (Humans) becoming accustomed to situations that would normally trigger a natural response, for example, a defensive action. Habituation is when the Human reacts to an event, triggering a change in behavior, but doesn’t take anything from the situation, due to it being a natural process. A subconscious acceptance or an advancement on the reflexes we are born with, if you like?
The next section titled, Classical Conditioning. Personally, I’m on the fence with the word conditioning… moving on! This section is based around the work of Ivan Pavlov, a Nobel prize winner for his research on digestion. This went hand in hand with his study on conditioning, particularly saliva secretion in dogs (a natural response). One of Pavlov’s first studies involved harnessing a dog to a feed bowl, with a secretion measuring instrument in the animal’s mouth. A bell would ring, the food would fill the bowl, the dog would salivate. The next step would be, ring the bell, no food arrives, the dog salivates. The next feeding, the bell is merely presented, not rang, still the dog salivated.
Pavlov concluded that there must be conditioned reflexes and unconditioned reflexes. To me, it seems like manipulation of the habitual process and a crying shame for the dog. Before moving on to critical thinking, ponder this for a moment. Think of your favorite fried chicken shop, pumping the smell of their product through colossal extraction at dinner time. Like the school dinner bell ringing and your mouth beginning to water like a flash flood across the desert. Carrying through to adulthood where the bell turns into 12pm on the clock (or a phone these days).
Critical thinking seems to be a myth, especially across the working-class societies of the world. To my surprise, Psychology fifth edition, never once mentions critical thinking. There may be a reason why? I believe that critical thinking is the key to growth, expression and knowledge. Critical thinking never ends. It goes beyond the documents of the world and what we are taught in schools. It’s verifying what you believe personally, not taking absolutely everything at face value. Critical thinking can lead to seeking truths from 1000’s of years ago, in order to answer a niggling question from today. The issue I’ve stumbled across while questioning the unknown, which we believe to be gospel, is that you will be met with resistance occasionally. My thought regarding this theory of critical thinking do not fit hand in hand with the current system in place. Any bells ringing? The above paragraphs are based on cognitive skills, which are universally understood to be the core skills of the brain… reading, writing and PAYING ATTENTION! A collection of knowledge to apply at WORK, SCHOOL and in everyday life. I would much prefer my everyday life to be basking, lying under a tree and swimming in rivers, not much cognitive thinking needed there. Just a critical thought of what I’d personally prefer. I’m sure we’d all prefer this but unfortunately, modern life simply does not permit it. One of the great philosophical questions is, are we truly free? What I’ve wrote today, could be a solid argument to say no, but, there’s physical freedom and then there’s freedom of the mind.
From a young age, the process of life that society expects us to go through requires conditioning, for work, sailing through social pressures and going against nature. The evidence is rife. Unfortunately, many mental health issues lead back to a process of thought and the miscommunication between our mind and body. This is leaving us vulnerable to mental and physical health issues. Quite possibly a by-product of modern lifestyle.
Quick story before I wrap up:
Short Story: There’s a snake in my boot!
There once was a lady who loved the Jungle, she sat down to eat.
Calmly, she realized,
“Oh, I’ve been bitten on the ankle, not sure when”
She nearly ended up Brown Bread (Dead).
Now recovered, she bravely revisits the jungle.
She lets out an intense scream.
“Oh, my Ankle.”
She is dead
Not really, just a branch brushing her leg.
It was all in her Head.
Love and Peace
By Ellis Robinson
Work of Unchained Wisdom ©2020