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Psycho-Epistemology 1

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Psycho-Epistemology 1 by Harry Binswanger.

Lecture suggested for rating by Bert.

Description from the AynRandBookstore.com (link)

Ayn Rand defined psycho-epistemology as "the study of man's cognitive processes from the aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious."

In these illuminating lectures on this new science, Dr. Binswanger presents Ayn Rand's revolutionary theories and offers his own penetrating observations on the role of the subconscious in thinking and on the specific operations by which one "programs" one's subconscious.

Topics include: the conscious mind as the manager of the subconscious; "filing" and "retrieving" data; what is and what is not directly volitional; and a new view of creativity.

(Audio CD; 4-CD set; 3 hrs. 16 min., with Q & A)

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Psycho-Epistemology 1

By Harry Binswanger

I have been using and thinking about the things taught in this course. I now have a better understanding about the way my conscious mind interacts with the subconscious. It has given me a better idea of the importance of using essentials, how to prepare ones subconscious for certain tasks, and getting information from your subconscious. As you can see I think this is a very applicable lecture.

Dr. Binswanger goes over such things as the importance of method since it leads to good or bad content, how to get good feedback from the subconscious, about some of the questions one asks when getting information and receiving it from the subconscious, and other things that I found interesting. This lecture helped me better understand the workings of my mind, which made it well worth the value for me. I found most of it interesting or useful and would recommend it if you are interested in this topic.

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Conrad's Review

Lecture 1: Dr. Binswanger differentiates the conscious mind from the sub-conscious mind. He does so by drawing examples of differences between the two and shows how their relationship is in constant communication with one another. Where one asks a conscious question to oneself, the sub-conscious retrieves relevant information, and only information that you’ve classified as relevant, then the conscious mind evaluates the information the sub-conscious mind retrieved, and then asks more questions. An example is to name a few car parts; immediately the sub-conscious mind thinks up some parts like wheel, muffler, odometer… but the sub-conscious does not retrieve panda, golf club, banana… why is that? Dr. Binswanger offers some insights, but they are his own and not part of the body of Objectivism as he makes clear. However, he does draw on ITOE and his own discussions with Ayn Rand.

Dr. Binswanger had me hanging off every word with his funny, witty, insightful presentation. There were several “laugh out loud” moments for me. This first lecture definitely provided some food for thought into the subject.

Lecture 2: In this lecture, Dr. Binswanger discusses “sending orders down” from conscious to sub-conscious. He discusses the benefits of filing (storing) information by essentials because it offers economy of thought.

Discusses various orders sent down to sub-consciousness:

-Standing orders: watch for x, and when x occurs do y. “when you see red, jump” Example: The game “Simon Says”

-Place holders: short term standing orders: Example: “This man’s father is my father’s son.”

-Orders to retrieve information: By asking yourself a specific question. “What is the capital of Canada?” He offers insights on how to improve retrieving information.

Lecture 3: Is a Q&A. Here are some of the questions asked: They were mostly only touched, they were not lengthy answers.

- Recommended books for improving psycho-epistemology

- Dealing with people who have bad psycho-epistemology

- Creative thinking vs Regular thinking

- This man’s father is my father’s son

- Non Objectivist philosophy PHDs

- Reducing to essentials when listening to others

- Psycho-epistemology and creating art

- Subconscious integration

Overall I am quite happy that I purchased this. It definitely provided food for thought. I found it valuable to identify various aspects of psycho-epistemology explicitly; at the very least it provides for a base to work on. However, this course does not claim to be an exhaustive overview of psycho-epistemology. And, this course’s goal is not “ways to improve one’s p-e” but it does offer insights on how one can go about improving it (although I wish it had more to offer in regards to improving one's p-e, like specific exercises).

I would classify anything that Ayn Rand did as “essential”, by that I mean, if you are an Objectivist I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to go over everything Ayn Rand ever did at least once. This course, however, I would not classify as essential. Rather, although interesting, fun to listen to, thought provoking, and of the usual high quality I expect from Dr. Binswanger, I would call this course more like “desert” if your profession is not psychology. But, if every psychology program had this course as a required listening then I think the world would be a much better place and we would see improvements in the field of psychology.

Looking forward to Psycho-Epistemology 2.

Thank you Harry Binswanger :)

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