The Echoes of the Mind (92) Mentation Synopsis


Habit is stronger than reason. ~ Spanish American philosopher George Santayana

▫ Life is an exercise in desire fulfillment, toward which we apply our cunning. As we have an interest in anything to which we turn our attention, disinterest is practically an oxymoron.

▫ Cognition is symbolic processing. Perceived objects are abstractions distilled through categories and associative concepts.

All actions happen through concepts and are managed by them. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

▫ Reason is thought which pleases. Rationality necessarily involves value judgment, underlying which are values, which necessarily involve emotional attachments in the form of preferences.

It is not the things themselves which trouble us, but the opinions which we have about these things. ~ Epictetus

▫ Imagination pervades mental processes: filling memory gaps, soothing the mind with self-serving biases, and imbuing problem-solving with creative solution capability. Even perception receives a large injection of imagination.

▫ Mentalizing (aka mind perception) is the ascription of mental states to other bodies and objects. Thinking less of others as a matter of course is the most prevalent and socially significant flaw in mentalizing.

▫ Conscious thought is quite limited in coverage, nuances, and speed. Further, logic often falls to fallacies.

The mind readily engages innate heuristics which are honed through experience. Heuristics are rules of thumb: quick but error-prone, as they are subject to biases.

▫ Along with willmind and nattermind, introspection illustrates the manifold nature of mentation. The ability to passively witness thoughts indicates that consciousness transcends the concepts which the mind deals in.

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. ~ James Thurber


Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. ~ French German theologian Albert Schweitzer

All mentation necessarily involves memory.

The essence of memory is linking one thought to another. ~ American psychologist Anthony Greene

▫ For its creation and effective recall, memory is inextricably entangled with emotion. Sentimentality is a fusion of emotion to memory.

▫ As an evolutionary device for survival, all organic entities possess memory. Veracity is incidental.

Memory itself is an internal rumour. ~ George Santayana

▫ The composition of memories involves mosaics of impressions, not recordings of actual events. The malleability of memory is necessary for creating useful mental templates. As remembering details can be detrimental to utility, memory inaccuracy is intrinsic.

The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us and fools us into believing it. ~ Mathias, in the movie Total Recall (2013)


There are no facts, only interpretations. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

▫ Knowledge is mentally organized information believed to be true. Though supposedly resting upon a foundation of facts, the authenticity of knowledge is necessarily suspect, as facts involve assumptions of context, and exclude potentially relevant information ignored or not observed.

▫ Learning is an evolutionary adaptation for survival.

▫ Amassing facts invariably involves a framing effect, which comes from viewing events within a certain context. Framing is a bias in treating observed particulars as representative of all instances, which are assumed selfsame, with the context belonging to a specific category.

▫ Comprehension is ultimately intended as a control mechanism. Understanding renders objects useful, but more importantly makes the world seem predictable, which gives the mind a sense of security.

▫ Correlation is commonly mistaken for causality. This habit owes to childhood learning, where attributions of causality are successfully made from just a few experiences.

▫ Facile confusion between coincidence and causality is the source of much ‘science’ being science fiction by drawing conclusions and making extrapolated conjectures that are unsupported, and even contradicted, by evidence and verified principles. Neurobiology is the most glaring (and ridiculous) example, but the same muddle tars other sciences, including physics, psychology, and economics.


Intuition is seeing with the soul. ~ Dean Koontz

▫ Logical thought is serial symbolic processing. In contrast, intuition is parallel processing. As such, intuition is a potent mechanism for collating information and delivering insight. Intuition is especially helpful in social contexts, which are intrinsically filled with nonlinear and amorphous facets.

▫ People generally trust intuition more than deliberate reasoning. That said, women are typically more comfortable relying upon their intuition than men, who prefer reflection, which is an ersatz evaluative technique.

▫ Whereas intuition tends to support cooperation, deliberation promotes selfishness.


People seem to have no idea how biased they are. Everyone thinks that they are less biased than their peers. ~ Carey Morewedge

▫ Bias is a preference subconsciously imposed. Because bias slips in under the radar of conscious awareness, biases are impossible to eradicate.

▫ Beliefs are an acceptance of biases and a rejection of further learning in areas related to held beliefs.


People have great confidence in their fallible judgment. ~ American psychologist Hillel Einhorn et al

▫ Desire drives decisions, and affect invariably weighs in.

▫ The mind regularly relies upon heuristics to make decisions.

▫ Decisions are typically made subconsciously, with the conscious mind informed after the fact: allowed to acclimate and accept.


We are all naïve realists. We intuitively assume that as we see and remember the world, so it is. We assume that others see it as we do (false consensus). And if they obviously don’t, we assume the bias is at their end. Our naiveté extends to our self-confidence. ~ David Myers